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14:52 on Friday
1 March 2002

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Local company bosses offer manifesto to politicians


With a general election likely in June, local company directors have thrown their weight behind a 'manifesto for business' in which they set out what they want from any new government.

The Eastern Branch of the Institute of Directors - which represents almost 1,000 company directors throughout Cambridgeshire - says that the UK's international competitiveness is falling. It wants the future government to take action to reverse that decline.

David Jennings of the IoD's Eastern Branch said: "According to the World Economic Forum, Britain has slipped from fourth in the league table of competitive countries to ninth in just two years.

"There are two main reasons for this - the government is taking more money out of the national economy through taxes and has significantly increased regulation of the labour market."

The IoD nationally has drawn up a document entitled Keeping Britain Competitive. Local company directors are keen to see the political parties use this as the basis for drawing up their own election manifestos. Among its key ideas are:

  • Retaining the pound and the existing system for setting interest rates.

  • Introducing a system under which people get 'vouchers' for education and health services which they can 'spend' in either the public or private sectors.

  • Sorting out the current problems of the railway system.

  • Simplifying the tax system and pledging to introduce no new taxes.

  • Cutting regulations and red tape which hamper business.

David Jennings said: "Regulations should have 'sunset clauses' built into them, so that they expire after a few years unless the government renews them. This would help to stop the build-up of rules and restrictions which often no longer serve any useful purpose.

"All the main political parties will say in their manifestos that they want the UK to have a competitive, dynamic and thriving economy. They have to realise that this cannot be done unless there are fewer taxes and less red tape."

April 2001

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