Business leaders tell politicians to keep focus on deficit reduction

23 Mar 15

The CBI has called on all political parties to ensure that any coalition negotiations that take place after May’s general election do not lead to a diminished focus on deficit reduction.

Setting out its priorities for the first 100 days of the next parliament, the business group said a future government must stay on top of the public finances and ensure that there was no ‘power vacuum’ that could hit the economy.

Director general John Cridland said that whether the election led to a majority, minority or coalition administration, all those involved should ensure the period of post-election uncertainty is kept to a minimum.

‘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,’ he added.

‘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.’

Key priorities for business include a post-election comprehensive spending review that will continue to cut public spending, while also taking action to encourage innovation and set out a path to further public service reform.

The chancellor should also publish the government’s fiscal rules within the first 100 days, as well as a business tax roadmap to allow firms to plan with confidence.

The Best Foot Forward report also includes a call for a new independent infrastructure commission in an attempt to break the logjam in the current planning regime.

The CBI’s deputy director general Katja Hall added that the next government must be honest about the challenges that still lie ahead.

‘The decision on expanding aviation capacity cannot wait another five years, so the new government should commit to backing the final proposals from the Davies Commission,’ she added.

‘An independent commission could weave its way through the usual planning gridlock and set the wheels in motion on big projects that can deliver genuine 21st century infrastructure in the UK.’

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