PracticeConsultingCBI: Global view needed on investment

CBI: Global view needed on investment

Confederation of British Industry chief Digby Jones told top business leadersyesterday that government must grasp the 'global context of what they do' tokeep international investment coming into UK plc.

‘Firms are increasingly free to pick and choose where they locate’, the CBIdirector-general said. ‘Governments must understand that it is a fact of lifethat they make policy within the influence of a global marketplace.’

And he claimed that UK business now shoulders £5bn extra tax bill to covergovernment spending.

The warning to an Oxford audience follows threats by chief executive Chris Gentof Vodafone to move Britain’s largest company abroad because government plans toclose down offshore mixer loopholes could cost it up to £500m.

Jones said: ‘With every word and every action, they must send the right signalsto encourage global companies to headquarter here, to do business here and tostay here.’

Although the UK enjoys a good reputation among international investors, Jonesargued that it cannot afford to take this for granted.

He said: ‘Companies consider all benefits and risks when they take investmentdecisions in the boardrooms of Detroit, Tokyo and South Africa.’

He added that UK industry was still struggling with the strength of stirling.

‘Even if you only operate in the UK market, you are already feeling the impactof the exchange rate through increasing competition from importers,’ he said.

Vodafone plan to take Mannesmann offshore

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