Political uncertainty "main issue" for British firms, says CBI's Cridland

Harriet Green
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The main issue on the horizon for British companies today is the degree of political uncertainty they face, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) John Cridland has this morning.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Cridland stressed that politicians must focus on pro-enterprise policies, as it’s business that creates jobs and boosts living.

When it comes to the current wrangling over US Pfizer’s bid for UK drugs firm AstraZeneca, Cridland said the government must get clear reassurances, rather than simply intervening in the market. The proposed takeover is, he added, “primarily a matter of the boards and shareholders of the firms”.

Reiterating CBI comment on the matter last week, Cridland said protecting the UK’s science base is important, but open markets have also served us well.

Today, Pfizer’s put out another series of videos promoting the plus points of a transaction between the two companies, as it seeks to lessen the fears of those who say a deal could damage the UK’s research sector.

Cridland also commented on how he feels the overheating housing market should be dealt with. The Bank of England has the levers it needs to deal with it, he said and, as far as he’s concerned, the answer lies in tightening the criteria for mortgages and invoking a supply-side response. We need more houses built, and that key response lies with government, he said.

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