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Cameron seeks business pledge to create jobs


"You’re going to see the most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever," says Cameron

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Prime minister David Cameron is to meet major UK employers on Monday in the hope of extracting a promise to create thousands of jobs to replace those to be lost in the public sector due to sweeping government spending cuts, Cameron’s office said.

On Monday Cameron will meet business leaders including Judith McKenna, chief financial officer of Asda, Ian Tyler, chief executive of Balfour Beatty and Intercontinental Hotels CFO Richard Solomons, among other senior business leaders.

As many as 500,000 public sector jobs are estimated to be scrapped over this parliament in an attempt to slash one of the largest UK budget deficit’s. The coalition government wants to get the economy back on track “by creating a climate in which the private sector can grow and develop, creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country”, Cameron said.

“Across a whole range of areas you’re going to see the most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever unleashed by a government. It’s time we looked forward to a positive, strong, confident Britain. By developing the right skills and jobs I am determined that the many not the few will share in the country’s prosperity,” the prime minister said in a statement.

Critics fear the heavy cuts in the public sector will derail the country's recovery, plunging it back into recession.

But Cameron has defended his plan to almost eliminate the budget deficit, now running close to 10 percent of national output, by the time of the next election in 2015, and wants the private sector to take up the strain.

The economy has bounced back fairly well from an 18-month recession but economists have questioned whether the private sector has the confidence or capability to seal a strong recovery on its own.

Other employers scheduled to meet Cameron today include business leaders from Amec, Centrica, the Co-operative Group, Hays, Jaguar Land Rover, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis Partnership, McDonald’s UK, Microsoft, Mitie, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Shell, Tesco and Toyota.

Kevin O’Byrne, group FD at Kingfisher, said: “Our two UK businesses expect to create several hundred new jobs between them this year. In addition, our broader capital investment is projected to rise this year as a sign of our confidence in our UK businesses.”

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