CBI says FSA stifles UK growth

A new CBI report states that over-regulation by the FSA is deterring business from investing in the UK and putting the country’s recovery at risk.

Over-regulation by the FSA is deterring business from investing in the UK and putting the country’s recovery at risk, according to a CBI report.

Fidelity International’s European chief executive Robert Higginbotham called FSA regulation “overly bureaucratic and intrusive”. His comments were made as part of a new CBI report in which business leaders call on the Government to address the UK’s slipping competitiveness.

In Making the UK the best place to invest, published today, the CBI warns that without action to arrest the level of regulation and supervision, investment and jobs will be lost to other countries.

The report suggests the UK’s attractiveness as a place to invest has declined over the last decade, in the face of increased competition from overseas.

Regulatory burden is a key ‘investment blocker’, according to the report, which cites the World Economic Forum as ranking the UK 89th out of 139 for having the biggest regulatory burden on business, on a par with Nigeria.

Measures suggested by the CBI include removing the 50p tax rate as soon as public finances allow, setting a long term objective of cutting corporation tax to 18 per cent and creating a planning and regulatory system that encourages growth.

Fidelity chief Higginbotham says: “Business opportunities and jobs are moving abroad and the Government must look carefully at why this is the case. A key issue is the overly bureaucratic and intrusive regulation by the FSA.

“This may be appropriate for a failed bank, but it is wholly inappropriate and disproportionate for an agency business such as ours. The new executive of the FCA must pay attention to international competitiveness. This is not an invitation for weak regulation but for carefully considered and appropriate regulation.”

CBI director general John Cridland says: “With competition for international capital so fierce, the Government must play up our strengths and remove the stumbling blocks to investment. Time isn’t on our side and we have less than five years to turn things around.”

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