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Government link for business chiefs

Britain's top chief executives are to be given a direct line to individual Government ministers to discuss business concerns, it has been reported.

The bosses of the UK's top 50 companies will be allocated "buddies" as a single point of contact at senior levels of Whitehall departments, according to The Times.

Six ministers across three departments will fill the roles, including Business Secretary Vince Cable, who will deal with oil and gas firms Shell, BP and BG, the paper said.

Other ministers involved include Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk and Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

The idea was contained in the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) White Paper in February and is intended to maximise business potential in the UK and assist with economic recovery.

The initiative is being led by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the Trade and Investment Minister and former chairman and chief executive of HSBC.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business stressed that the project was not yet live and still in its "very, very early stages".

"There is definitely a need for strategically important companies to have a single point of contact in the Government," she said.

"This is something that's been welcomed by business."

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