12 Jul 2012

CBI director slams government lethargy on growth

John Cridland, director-general of business lobbying group CBI, has attacked the government for fighting amongst itself instead of focusing on growth

In an interview with the Financial Times today, Cridland said that the government was too busy in-fighting to agree funding for essential infrastructure projects that would stimulate job growth. He cited examples including road upgrades and funding for renewable energy that are currently being held up.

"I think it is really disappointing how long it is taking to get momentum and urgency into the growth plan," he told the FT.

The CBI published it’s own report last year cataloguing projects around the country that would help to stimulate the economy and create vital jobs. Cridland was critical today about a lack of progress on these projects - particularly the stalling of a possible toll road to unblock the congested A14 route, which carries container traffic to the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk - by transport secretary Justine Greening and the department.

"On Justine Greening's desk is an options report from officials following a call for evidence," he said, adding that the point of the CBI call to action had been to get the projects up and running: "I was talking about diggers on the ground."

He said that green energy initiatives have been held up due to government battles over subsidy levels between the chancellor George Osborne and energy minister Ed Davey. "It's got stuck in a political row," he said. "The economics of it are blindingly obvious."

Cridland said he supports the chancellor's austerity measures, but argued they needed to be matched by a more energetic approach to infrastructure investment.


Helen Roxburgh