Pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer has shelved its plans to locate its European headquarters in Britain because of delays caused by an excessively bureaucratic planning system.
According to a story in Sunday's Observer, the investment Ė potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK economy - will now go to Germany instead.
A spokesman for Pfizer quoted in the Observer said: "The expansion would have taken place over several years, but the business planning required a commitment from the UK management within a couple of months that they could deliver the required facilities in due course. However, experience of the timescales and uncertainty in planning applications in the region meant that the UK management was unable to give such an undertaking in the required time, and the opportunity was declined.
"Instead, the company decided to distribute the jobs in other EU countries, and the opportunity to develop a genuine EU-leading role for the UK site was lost."
The Observer adds that a confidential government policy shows that "refused or discouraged applications 'effectively stalled Ikea's £1bn investment programme' and put 'under threat' a £160m Center Parcs development and a GE Healthcare campus."