CBI chief warns of ‘short-termism’ threat to jobs and growth

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An industry leader has said a “cumulative burden” on business, including an apprenticeship levy and new national living wage, risks costing jobs and hitting economic growth.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, warned of the danger of “short-term” politics.

In a new year message, she highlighted a number of policies impacting firms in 2016, including the new £7.20-an-hour national living wage.

“The Government has placed a number of extra strains on UK businesses that are adding up - the national living wage, the apprenticeship levy, pension auto-enrolment.

“Businesses want to reward staff fairly but, as the burdens and costs accumulate, growth risks being cut off and jobs lost.”

She said businesses struggled to invest when rules “repeatedly change”.

The UK economy had performed well, creating many jobs, but the chances of a prosperous future could be undermined by the short-termism of politics, she warned.

Ms Fairbairn said a top priority was skills, but the planned apprenticeship levy risked failure through poor design, while “wrong-headed” visa policies were making skills shortages worse.