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Government must cut bureaucracy to encourage foreign investment: CBI

By Alan Jones

Published 19/04/2011

The UK's reputation as a good place to invest is under threat unless the Government tackles "stumbling blocks" such as regulation and planning issues, business leaders have warned.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said foreign investment in the country fell "significantly" during the recession between 2007 and 2009, and measures were now needed to attract overseas companies.

Research among 400 firms found business leaders calling for a more "compelling" case to be made to foreign investors.

The CBI urged the Government to continue reducing corporation tax, extend apprenticeships, develop a fast-track planning system and improve infrastructure.

CBI director general John Cridland said: "We want the UK to be the best place for companies to invest because this is how we will create growth and jobs, but it is worrying how many business leaders are telling us that the UK no longer holds the same attraction it once did, and are questioning whether they need to be here at all.

"The Budget and Plan for Growth were a good start but the Government now has to completely transform the investment landscape.

"With competition for international capital so fierce, the Government must play up our strengths and remove the stumbling blocks to investment. Time isn't on our side and we have less than five years to turn things around."

Business leaders identified a number of "barriers" to investment, including employment legislation, the planning system, skills shortages and shifts in policy after general elections. Some added that jobs were moving abroad, warning of an "overly bureaucratic" UK regulatory system.

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