CBI boss John Cridland tells parties to slash the deficit and roll back EU "lifestyle" regulation

Guy Bentley
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The CBI says the deficit is still a top priority (Source: Getty)

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged all parties to keep cutting the deficit as a top priority after next year's general election.

The CBI's director general John Cridland used his new year statement to warn that the major parties weren't giving the public a clear picture of the major reforms needed to keep public services efficient in an era of restraint.

He voiced support for the integration of social care and health while stressing that the "low hanging" fruit in other areas had already been plucked and only "radical solutions" would suffice to keep services on track.

He also echoed much of the commentary over the last several months warning about the state of the global economy:

The political and economic risks at home and abroad represent a clear and present danger. As the election countdown accelerates, I urge politicians of all hues not to take their eyes off the economic ball

The CBI boss also had some tough words for the EU, arguing it needed to look beyond its borders to a world that still has huge potential for growth and trade and should stop busying itself with "lifestyle regulation". He criticised excessive employment regulations like the working time directive and burdensome red tape directed at the financial services industry.

The transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) was the kind of activity the EU needed to pursue more vigorously, said Cridland. However, Cridland stressed that Britain still benefitted from its EU membership:

The fundamental choice here is whether Britain wants to be a global citizen or retreat behind national borders. The needs of the modern world increasingly don’t recognise either the Berlin Walls or the Hadrian’s Walls of the past.

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