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A British view: What it takes to compete

Aug 6, 2012
Carter Wood

We referrered last week to a speech by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron on Britain's economy and competitiveness, a speech also noted by John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. Cameron declared the United Kingdom open for business, announcing strategies to enhance the country's competitivenes. Note how critical fiscal restraint, tax policy and regulations are.To wit:

My message today is clear and unequivocal. Be in no doubt: we will go on and finish the job, we will deal with the deficit, we will keep UK interest rates low and we will continue to take the tough decisions that are necessary for business leaders and investors to have confidence in the long-term future of the British economy.

Getting our debts under control is clearly essential for growth. Fiscal discipline and growth are not alternatives – you need one to get the other – but sound finances alone are not sufficient. If Britain is going to be a success, we need a competitive economy. So we are absolutely focused on doing everything to support enterprise and make Britain the best the best place in the world in which to start or grow a business.

We have listened to what business wants and we are delivering on it. Business said, ‘We want competitive tax rates’, so we are creating the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20 and the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G7.

Business said, ‘We want a simplified planning system’. Why? So companies can expand and invest more easily and grow and create the jobs that will put people into work. We have taken 1,000 pages of planning documentation and reduced it to just 52.

 Business wants tax credits for research and development so they can develop the high end products that future countries like ours need. We have got them.

Cameron also stressed the importance of trade and exports to creating a strong economy. Britain has regained its status as a next exporter of automobiles! (Where can we buy this one?)

I’ll keep up the pressure on the EU to conclude those new trade agreements with India, Canada and Singapore and to launch trade negotiations with Japan. I’ll continue to champion a free trade area in Africa, which could play such a vital role in lifting Africa further out of poverty. And I will make trade a core priority when Britain hosts the G8 here in the United Kingdom next year.

Britain, we note, is in a good position to take advantage of Russia's Aug. 22 accesion to the World Trade Organization. Cameron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. 

Author

Senior Communications Advisor
Business Roundtable

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