Cracks start to appear in the coalition over business plans

Steve Dinneen
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THE two sides of the coalition look set to clash over a string of key business issues, according to a British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) survey of MPs.

One potential battleground is the forthcoming appointment of outgoing HSBC chairman Stephen Green as full-time trade minister. Around 62 per cent of Tories are in favour of the move, but half of the Lib Dems feel the role is unnecessary.

There is also a gulf in opinion between the two sides over investment in infrastructure. Lib Dems are 70 per cent in favour of maintaining or increasing this area of expenditure, a sentiment echoed by business leaders. However, only 27 per cent of Tories agree.

Employment law also looks to be a thorny issue, with 87 per cent of Tories saying the balance of power had shifted too far towards the employee. Around 71 per cent of Lib Dems disagree.

David Frost, Director General of the BCC, said: “We are concerned about some of the
gaps opening up between ministers and their parliamentary parties. This is a critical week for Nick Clegg to re-state the importance of business growth to his party.”