Yesterday, the Institute of Fiscal Studies launched a detailed and scathing assesment the three main political parties plans for repairing the public finances.
The essential point of their criticism echoes what EEF have long been saying: the superficial debate on when to begin tightening is detracting from the more important debate on how you cut spending and raise taxes.
The Tories have yet to account for £52.5bn in spending cuts and £3 billion in tax rises.
Labour have to account for £45 billion cuts and £7bn in tax rises
The Lib Dems have to account for just £34.4 bn in spending cuts - they're plans require no further tax rises.
The phoney war of words on the planned NICs rise is a storm in a tea-cup compared to the parties' vast unexplained plans to repair the public finances.
But the real story behind the IFS report relates to the tax challenge EEF set out a month ago.
Firstly, VAT is almost certainly going to go up.
But that's alright: VAT in the UK is lower than the EU average and is one of the least damaging tax rises possible.
Another issue close to manufacturers' competitiveness is on capital allowances and the Conservative Party proposals to reduce the level of capital allowances to 12.5% to pay for a 3p cut in the rate of corporation tax.
The IFS's verdict?
"...the Conservatives’ proposed changes to capital allowances would make corporation tax more complicated, not simpler.
If the package is revenue-neutral then on average there would be no change in firms’ overall tax burden. However, some firms would benefit and others would lose.
The losers would be firms that invested heavily but made little profit – notably in the manufacturing and transport sectors but also some capital-intensive service-sector firms.
The winners would be less capital-intensive but more profitable firms, historically typified by the financial sector.
...by reducing the generosity of capital allowances, the Conservatives would weaken the incentive for firms to invest in new equipment in the UK.
It is difficult to imagine that this is the most efficient way of financing a cut in corporation tax rates."