Belfast Telegraph

CBI chief Lambert in parting swipe at David Cameron

The departing head of Britain's biggest business group has taken a surprise swipe at the Cameron government, accusing it of failing to put forward its economic vision.

Sir Richard Lambert, who stands down as director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Friday, said business supported the "ruthless" approach to spending cuts, agreeing they were essential for the long-term stability of the economy.

But in his last major speech in the job, Sir Richard said the Government had not been consistent in its plans for economic growth.

"It's failed so far to articulate in big-picture terms its vision of what the UK economy might become under its stewardship.

"And it's taken a series of policy initiatives for political reasons, apparently careless of the damage they might do to business and to job creation."

Sir Richard said that ministers had yet to set out their vision of what a successful growing economy would actually look like, adding: "The growth White Paper that was expected last autumn never materialised, and the impression was given that there simply weren't enough good ideas around to justify such a publication.

"Rather than a big picture of the kind of economic eco-system the Government wants to champion, we are left with a few rather vague ideas about the scope supporting a number of predictable sectors, and the promise that more ideas will be forthcoming at the time of the spring budget.

"When it comes to micro-policy initiatives, politics appear to have trumped economics on too many occasions over the past eight months."

David Cameron's official spokesman said: "Richard Lambert, it seems to me, is making many of the arguments you would expect a business lobby group to be making.

"The Government has made no apology about the fact that the deficit has to be addressed.

"We are also looking across the board at what more we can do to promote growth in the economy."