Labour failing British business says Jones

A week before he steps down as director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, Sir Digby Jones has claimed Government complacency has made starting and running a business harder since he took up his post six years ago.

Speaking in an interview with The Times, Jones, who is leaving the CBI next week, accused Labour of not addressing the needs of business through poor education, increasing taxes, failing to address planning regulations and a general complacency.

‘They have got complacent, they think, “we can afford to do a few things that will appeal to the backbench Labour Party, to appeal to the environmentalists”, but in a globalised world business can just say “sorry, we’re going to go elsewhere”.’

On education, Jones commented, ‘It used to be that if you couldn’t read or write then you got a job in a factory. Now you go on the dole. Business has its part to play in training, but you can’t blame anyone but Government for not delivering basic skills in children.’

And on tax: ‘Today business feels overtaxed and it is not the headline rate it is the cheque that you write. If you go to Germany, the headline rate is much greater but the cheque you write is less because there is more tax relief.’

He concluded that the needs of business had changed substantially over the last few years, but added: ‘I’m not sure the Government has made the recognition leap.’

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