The UK can be the top western economy for business investment if the government can help industry with frontline investment needs like creating certainty, keeping business costs down and developing new markets.
That is the emphatic message made in the CBI’s latest report, Making the UK the best place to invest, which describes a ‘vision’ for UK business that builds on key competitive advantages such as flexible labour laws and a well-developed innovation ecosystem. Advantages also include world class universities – four of the world’s top 10 universities are British, according to the QS World University Survey 2010 – that are primed to collaborate more closely with industry through vehicles such as the Technology and Innovation Centres, and a natural geography that can support a thriving low carbon energy industry. Such factors can enable the UK to dominate a new generation of business opportunities.
But the report’s analysis says that the UK is losing its attractiveness as a place to invest. It also charts a decline in levels of inward investment and in the UK’s competitiveness. Regulation, the report says, is the biggest spanner in the works, and CBI chief executive John Cridland told the government on Monday, “time isn’t on our side and we have less than five years to turn things around.”