THE groups of business leaders who have written to the press arguing against the proposed increase in national insurance (NI) payments for 2011 have scored an own goal.

Gerald Ratner, interviewed on the radio, spoke of living in the real world. His real world is populated by the wealthy, who are concerned about the amount of icing on the cake. NI contributions are paid by people in work, who will find it worthwhile paying a bit more if it saves jobs in the public sector.

The alternative of an increase in VAT penalises the jobless and pensioners who already struggle to pay the bills.

When this truth is realised, voters will see which parties have people's interests at heart.