CBI chief has warning for government on economy

The president of the CBI last night urged the Westminster government to tackle a series of important issues on the economy and said that energy should be at the top of the list.

Helen Alexander, addressing the CBI's annual dinner in London, said the coalition deserved praise for its action on the deficit and focus on the economy, said but there is "masses still to do" to encourage business to grow, invest and create jobs.

She said that while the government's "intentions have been good", it is "taking too long to get there".

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With Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, in attendance, she said: "There's much to applaud in the approach your government has taken. I know, though, from talking to members in every region of the country, that there's masses still to do on implementation.

"Energy is right at the top of our list. It's at the front of everyone's minds. The electricity market has to be reformed. You need to make sure the market not only encourages investment to secure our future supplies, but also works for industrial and other users.

"Next, we want you to get on with changing the law on industrial action, because strikes disrupt the public and are bad for growth. We want to be sure no strike can go ahead unless it has clear support of at least 40 per cent of the balloted workforce.

"And for businesses to thrive, we have to be freer from overbearing regulation, with the right incentives in the tax system."

Businesses carry the burden of regulation every day, she said, and "you need to lighten that load". She mentioned the government's roadmap for corporate tax and said: "We need clarity on personal tax too."