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Business leaders weigh in on Britain's election

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 07:46
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British Prime Minister and Conservative party leader David Cameron gives a speech at a General Election Rally at The Corsham School in Chippenham, south west England on March 30, 2015.

[LONDON] Over 100 leaders of British companies have declared support for a Conservative-led government ahead of the May 7 general election, weighing in on the tight-fought race.

The letter could be a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron, who is neck-and-neck with his main opposition, Labour party leader Ed Miliband.

"We believe this Conservative-led government has been good for business and has pursued policies which have supported investment and job creation," the executives wrote in a letter printed on the front page of the Daily Telegraph.

"We believe a change in course will threaten jobs and deter investment. This would send a negative message about Britain and put the recovery at risk." Signatories included Bob Dudley, chief executive of the oil and gas giant BP; outgoing Prudential insurance chief Tidjane Thiam; and the head of food processing and retailing company Associated British Foods George Weston.

Executives from brands well-known in Britain such as betting firm Ladbrokes, fashion business Ted Baker, restaurant chain Pizza Express and Cobra Beer also signed the letter.

Cameron has argued that his party is more credible on the economy due to an improved performance in the nation's finances on the watch of his Conservative-led coalition with the centrist Liberal Democrats.

However, Cameron's left-leaning rival Miliband maintains that the recovery is unbalanced and has left low-paid workers behind, and has put living standards at the heart of his campaign.

Miliband is expected to announce a policy to curb so-called "zero hours" contracts, under which employees only work when needed by their employers, often at short notice.

Business groups have defended the contracts, saying that unemployment would rise without them.

AFP