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Business leader urges parties to ‘rein in’ pledges as General Election approaches

The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, has appealed to the main political parties to rein in populist pledges and regain a focus on long-term economic strategies, rather than ‘headline-chasing’ measures, ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

In an open letter to the leaders of the main parties, Mr Longworth said: ‘While there are some encouraging statements and positive ideas in manifestos, on the campaign trail it seems strategic vision and evidence-led policy announcements have been left on the bus. In their place we've had tactical headline-chasing and lazy assumptions; a reliance on populist statements, not economic common sense; and niche policy announcements, rather than a focus on the fundamentals. For example, issues like how the UK earns its way in the world go unaddressed’.

‘Parties are competing to make ever more strident pledges to freeze taxes and ring-fence spending for the life of the next Parliament, without being able to see very far down the economic road ahead. No well-run business would tie its hands in this way,’ he added.

Mr Longworth has called on party leaders to offer a ‘clear and unapologetic vision’ for the UK’s future success.

The letter comes as the election campaigning turns its focus on the economy, with Labour and the Conservatives set to contest each other’s economic plans.

The policies of the main parties will be assessed by independent analysts, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies.