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Business calls for 100 days of action

CBI fears minority government in May will create ‘power vacuum’

John Cridland freeCBI boss John Cridland has today expressed concern that a new minority government at Westminster will create a “power vacuum”, causing delays in decision making and unsettling investors.

In a stark warning, the CBI warns all political parties that whatever the make-up of the new Government after the General election, the new Cabinet must get down to business with a clear delivery plan for the first 100 days.

This will keep economic growth on track, boost investment and create opportunities for all, it says.

In Best Foot Forward – the business plan for the first 100 days – it urges the new Government to focus on pro-enterprise measures and to take steps to get on top of the country’s finances.

As an immediate step, the CBI is calling on the new Government to outline its fiscal rules for the Parliament and initiate a Comprehensive Spending Review.

The TUC offered its support for more capital spending.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, says: “Whether we have a majority, minority or coalition Government, we ask those involved to ensure that the period of post-election uncertainty is kept to a minimum. We cannot afford a power vacuum that delays urgent policy decisions and unsettles potential investors, so any new Cabinet must get down to business as soon as possible.

“But if horse-trading is required to form a new Government, politicians must not duck the tough questions just to reach agreement and risk undermining the recovery before the ink has dried.”

Mr Cridland says much remains to be done to secure the UK’s economic future and business wants to see a” confident, new administration” getting into its stride by taking action on the key priorities, including staying on top of the public finances, meeting the urgent demand for new homes and making progress on EU reform.

“For any incoming Government to make its mark it needs clear delivery milestones in its first 100 days. Politicians tend to focus on the next big idea or initiative but business will judge success on the delivery,” he says.

In the first 100 days of Government, the CBI is calling for a number of new measures. It wants the it to stay on top of public finances and break the infrastructure gridlock, including implementation of the Airports Commission on a second runway in London.

It also urges the new administration to set out terms for keeping Britain in the European Union and extend the 15 hours free childcare to all one and two year olds to help family finances and get people into work.

On regulation it wants a commitment to the “one-in, two-out” approach.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said in a statement: “Businesses and trade unions agree on the need to increase capital spending as a share of GDP. But the Chancellor’s plans to permanently shrink the state will leave it in the doldrums.

“The CBI rightly argues that inflexible budget targets should be avoided if they put urgently needed capital spending at risk. They now need to go further and recognise the importance of an immediate capital boost to secure the recovery and eliminate the deficit. And the Chancellor needs to recognise that the budget targets he set out last week risk landing the economy in serious trouble.”

Ms O’Grady also called for a further clampdown on the financial services sector and more action to help rebuild Britain’s manufacturing base.

“Reforming the financial sector to focus on long-term investment in the real economy, instead of casino-capitalism, is an area of common cause,” she said. “We need a plan that will turn Britain into a modern manufacturing economy, making the UK a strong exporter and a global leader in green technology.”

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