Tony Blair used David Cameron’s absence from the Confederation of British
Industry yesterday to announce that the government will cut the amount of red
tape UK businesses have to deal with.
The prime minister took full advantage of the Tory leader’s decision not to
attend the bosses’ group’s annual conference by promising to cut by 25% the
£15bn-worth of form-filling, government inspections and record keeping that
businesses and charities endure.
Cameron is on a two-day visit to Baghdad and Basra, but his absence angered
business leaders, with former CBI director general Sir Digby Jones saying it was
a bid to distance his party from business.
Blair addressed delegates at the CBI Conference on what he called the most
radical regulatory reform programme in the world.
He promised major ‘simplification plans’ for 18 government departments, which
would be required to reduce red tape by 25%.
Blair’s decision to woo the business community comes as a poll of executives
in 100 companies shows that two out of three believe the UK has become a worse
location in which to do business as a result of the tax regime.
It found that two out of three were executives unhappy with the government’s
approach to tax and competitiveness; one in five companies had relocated jobs
overseas; and another third of businesses were considering the idea.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne, standing in for Cameron, was told the CBI
that the Tories would replace the existing Climate Change Levy with a carbon tax
on companies to persuade them to cut their emissions.
He promised to offset any revenue gained by cuts in business taxes under a
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