New voice for British business


The former editor of the Financial Times has been appointed the new head of Britain's biggest business group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Richard Lambert, will take over as director general of the CBI in July, leaving his current seat on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, which sets the UK's interest rates.

He replaces Sir Digby Jones who has been at the helm of the CBI for the past six years.

But despite chairing a government task force on business-university collaboration which reported back in 2003, Lambert has already made it clear that the CBI's criticism of the government is unlikely to be relaxed under his tenure.

Commenting on this week's budget, he describing Gordon Brown's speech as like "listening to the manager of a Soviet tractor plant reciting the latest production figures" and criticised the "unbelievably complicated" tax system created by the Chancellor.

"I would prefer a coherent view of the whole tax system. I am not in favour of little pots of money being put away here, there and everywhere. The tax system is unbelievably complicated."

"British business needs a powerful voice to put it where it belongs - at the heart of the country's economic life," he said.

"It's not a separate interest group: the future well-being of everyone in the country depends on the dynamism and prosperity of our business sector.

"The CBI needs to be leading the argument for a simple and competitive tax and regulatory regime, and for improvements in skills and education at all levels of society. I couldn't imagine a more worthwhile or challenging mission."