The Confederation for British Industry has written to George Osborne and Vince Cable with a shopping list of policy measures it wants the government to deliver on, in order to fuel short-term growth.
In the letter from CBI chairman Richard Lambert to the chancellor and secretary of state for business, the CBI says that it wants to see an extension of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee to fit the needs of intellectual property (IP) – intensive businesses “where banks find it hard to extend loans in the absence of physical collateral”, and asks for more encouragement to get non-bank and equity financing going.
It also says the government must take a leadership role in pushing the previously mooted exports-led recovery by “providing information, contacts and financial or risk backing”, making the Export Credit Guarantee Department’s product range “more accessible and suited to the financing needs of SME exporters”.
Finally, it asks the government to reduce barriers to trade by removing cumbersome customs procedures, ineffective IP legislation and what it sees as protectionism in public procurement systems. It sees pent-up demand for domestic projects in the energy, waste and flood management sectors and asks the CBI to facilitate investment in these areas.
“Decisions are needed in the regulatory and policy framework to reduce uncertainty and encourage investment,” says Lambert. He adds that “there must be reforms that encourage competition to deliver public services, including transparency on costs and performance, and improvements in shared services, procurement and outsourcing. Barriers to outsourcing such as differential treatment of tax and pensions must be removed.”
Beyond support for the foundations of growth, he continues in the letter, “there is a need for a policy focus on those measures that can have the greatest impact on growth performance in a relatively short timeframe.”