Signatories happy with current government

Company bosses sign letter supporting Tories

Bob DudleyThe battle for the business vote has taken a new twist after 100 company bosses pledged their support for a Conservative-led government in an advert placed in a London newspaper.

Businesses have already expressed concern at Labour leader Ed Miliband’s Business Manifesto and his stock fell further today after he pledged more controls on businesses.

Labour pledged to ban zero-hours contracts, which do not guarantee a minimum number of hours of employment, even though they are used by many industries – including the Scottish newspaper industry.

The Conservatives described the letter as the most significant intervention by business leaders in a general election campaign.

Those who have put their names to it claim the present government has supported investment and job creation.

“We believe a change in course will threaten jobs and deter investment. This would send a negative message about Britain and put the recovery at risk,” the letter says.

As well as Bob Dudley (pictured), chief executive of BP and Tidjane Thiam from Prudential, the list includes Arcadia retail group head Sir Philip Green, and Nick Robertson, chief executive of ASOS.

It also includes previous Labour supporters including Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannantyne and Talk Talk’s Sir Charles Dunstone.

Labour fell foul of business on Monday after quoting business leaders’ comments on EU membership in its advertising without their permission, and unveiling a package of measures, including plans for worker-directors.

The CBI today commented on Labour Party proposals to limit flexible contracts to 12 weeks before employees on these contracts have a right to a full-time job.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The UK’s flexible jobs market has given us an employment rate that is the envy of other countries, so proposals to limit flexible contracts to 12 weeks are wide of the mark.

“Of course action should be taken to tackle abuses, but demonising flexible contracts is playing with the jobs that many firms and many workers value and need.

“These proposals run the risk of a return to day-to-day hiring in parts of the economy, with lower stability for workers and fewer opportunities for people to break out of low pay.”

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