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Cameron pledges support for British business

Published: 26 October 2010
Prime Minister backs the "businesses of tomorrow" for economic growth, stresses the importance of competition and wants to get banks back lending to smaller firms.
Cameron pledges support for British business
David Cameron set out his stall yesterday in a speech given at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference. The Prime Minister explained his determination to drive growth and put Britain on an equal footing with industries across the globe. He announced plans to "completely update and modernise our infrastructure, so British business is free to compete with the rest of the world."

The move will see the Government invest £30bn in transport projects over the next four years, including the high-speed rail link to Birmingham, Crossrail, the Thames Gateway and the London Underground, as well as major improvements to the East and West Coast mainlines.

Mr Cameron also explained the need for competition across all industries and his plan to provide "a competitive environment for private sector growth". He stated: "I believe in competition. I believe when new entrants challenge big businesses, everyone wins... But today, some industries are too uncompetitive, with significant barriers to entry and obstacles to growth."

As announced by both Mr Cameron and Business Secretary Vince Cable, who also spoke at the conference, the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission will be brought together to form a single competition authority. There are also plans to speed up the time taken to make decisions in certain cases, in a bid to create the "efficient and timely processes" called for the by the CBI.

Mr Cameron added that the Government is keen to help new companies break into existing markets and drive innovation in the UK market. He said: "To build that new dynamism in our economy, to create the growth, jobs and opportunities Britain needs, we've got to back the big businesses of tomorrow, not just the big businesses of today. That means opening up access to finance, creating an attractive environment for venture capital funding, getting banks lending to small businesses again and insisting that a far greater proportion of government procurement budgets are spent with small and medium-sized firms."

The Government will, in turn, invest more than £200m in technology and innovation centres over the next four years. The centres will carry out their own in-house research but are also designed to connect businesses to potential technologies, make them aware of funding streams and provide access to skills and equipment.

Mr Cameron added: "These centres will be great for research, great for business - and they're going to put Britain back at the top table for innovation."

CBI director general Richard Lambert said of the Prime Minister's speech: "The Prime Minister demonstrated a real passion for business and an understanding that only business will create growth. There was a welcome emphasis on the need to re-boot the country's infrastructure, with a coherent vision of what needs to be done over the next five years to secure economic growth."


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