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Business leaders offer tentative welcome to Cameron’s draft UK-EU reform deal

BUSINESS GROUPS have offered a cautious welcome to David Cameron’s draft EU reform proposals.

Director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Carolyn Fairbairn said the plan was an “important milestone” in the process of reaching a firm deal.

A letter written on behalf of European Council president Donald Tusk – with whom the prime minister has been negotiating – includes a commitment to strengthen the internal market and cut red tape, although sceptics claim such promises have been made before.

Fairbarn said the pledge could “make a real difference to ambitious firms looking to grow and create jobs”.

Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said the proposed deal was “better than we expected”, and highlighted the commitment to “stop the flow of unnecessary red tape” as a key element of the progress.

“There are proposals on these areas in Tusk’s draft which hold promise, although no one should get carried away just yet,” he added.

Both bodies also welcomed moves to “put the brakes” on political integration and boost competition.

The IoD said its members are waiting to see the final outcome of the renegotiations before deciding how to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce John Longworth expressed a similar sentiment, and said: “A lot can change in the weeks ahead. Like others, we will be evaluating these proposals against the prime minister’s initial letter to Mr Tusk, and against the business priorities we have articulated.”

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