Business leaders say UK is less attractive place to invest

The CBI is to challenge government complacency over Britain&#39s reputation as a good place to do business after publishing a survey showing top company decision makers believe the UK is becoming a less attractive place to invest.

The employers&#39 body will open its national conference in Birmingham with what it describes as a “deeply worrying” MORI poll of more than 250 captains of industry.

Digby Jones, CBI Director-General, and senior FTSE chairmen and chief executives will discuss the findings with Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown at the conference.

The survey makes clear that 78% of business leaders believe the UK remains an attractive place to invest and that most expect to expand UK operations. But 70% say it has become worse over the past five years and 60% expect it to get worse over the next five years.

And two thirds of respondents believe the government places a low priority on delivering a favourable business climate. Some 75% said the government is less business friendly compared with five years ago and 68 per cent expect the situation to worsen.

CBI chief exec Digby Jones says: “I am pleased with the better performance of the UK economy this Autumn and it is true that so much of our concern originates from Europe and a backward-looking Brussels.

“But when top company decision makers start giving the kind of signals contained in our survey the government must sit up, listen and take action.

“There is widespread concern about the UK&#39s declining competitiveness and this is starting to feed through to investment decisions. There is no room for any complacency by anyone anywhere.”