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UK Chancellor Speaks At CBI Conference

by Jason Gorringe,, London

28 November 2007

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has this week delivered his long awaited speech at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Darling announced that:

"This year's conference is taking place at a time when the reality of the global economy is clearer than it has ever been. The problems that started in the American housing market have quickly affected countries across the world. There are reasons to be cautious. We don't yet know the full effects of this uncertainty."

He went on to add:

"But there are good reasons too to be optimistic. Britain has a strong economy. We have highly successful competitive businesses, many here today. We have seen over ten years of uninterrupted growth."

The speech went on to address the financial and economic stability of the country, with the Chancellor stating that:

"Now, economic stability depends on financial stability. In the financial markets, it is clear that both here and internationally we need to strengthen surveillance and supervision to head off problems before they arise."

He revealed that: "We are working with the IMF and the Financial Stability Forum to provide far greater transparency so that institutions understand the risk to which they might be exposed."

The Chancellor then moved on to talk about his plans for keeping Britain a favourable location for international business.

"I am determined to do everything I can to keep it that way and keep Britain as a good place to do business," he stated, going on to add that:

"What is needed is genuine cultural change. If you don't need to regulate, then don't. And if we do, do what's necessary - no gold plating. Britain is a good place to start up and maintain a business. And creating the right conditions for success depends on sustained investment."

"For decades Britain's problem was because of its inherent weakness it was never able to sustain investment in science or transport. It would start and then stop," Mr. Darling continued. "As a result of ten years of sustained growth, of only making promises on tax and spend that were costed and based on what we could afford, we have been able to maintain investment year on year. We will continue to do that."

The Chancellor went on to state that:

"I will continue to do everything I can to break down barriers to trade and promote British trade. There are difficult issues that need to be confronted if we are to maintain our competitiveness and secure our prosperity. Whether it is maintaining our stability in response to financial uncertainty, promoting free trade and open markets in response to protectionism, adapting in response to climate change, making the difficult choices - planning reform, aviation capacity, energy generation - in response to competitive challenges, these are issues that have to be tackled if we are to seize the opportunities available to us in the new global economy."

Looking to the future, the Chancellor promised to confront future problems head-on by maintaining good relations with other governments, concluding that:

"We have the strength of purpose to see through the current international uncertainty, backed by one of the strongest economies in the developed world. And we have a vision of a successful Britain underpinned by successful British businesses competing with the best across the world. I am determined that we keep it that way."

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