Executives from Asda, Boots, Ocado, Marks & Spencer and Diageo have urged the government not to water down its plans to tackle the budget deficit. 

“Reducing the deficit more slowly would mean additional borrowing every year, higher national debt, and therefore higher spending on interest payments,” according to the letter to the Telegraph signed by 35 business leaders including Andy Bond, Stefano Pessina, Sir Stuart Rose, Tim Steiner and Paul Walsh in their personal capacities.

The letter also warned that the cost of delay could be greater than an estimated £100bn of additional national debt by the end of this parliament. “If the markets lose faith in Britain, interest rates will rise for all of us.” 

The signatories added that the private sector “should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector.”