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Sunday, 24 November, 2002, 06:32 GMT
Ministers expect 'rough ride' at CBI
CBI boss Digby Jones
CBI bosses are warning ministers of a rough ride
Ministers have been warned to expect a "rough ride" as they begin to arrive at the CBI's annual conference in Manchester.

Digby Jones, director-general of the employer organisation, said the government had pushed businesses as far as they could go.

During the conference, which begins on Sunday, four ministers will speak, including Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The CBI has supported the government's stand on the firefighter's strike but has warned that business is suffocating under the burden of rules and regulations.

Mr Jones said the CBI estimated the government would take 47 billion in taxes between 1997 and the end of the current parliamentary session.

The main bulk of this will come due to the rise in national insurance contributions.

However, the Treasury points out corporation tax is at its lowest levels yet.

Other business leaders due to address the conference include BP's chief executive Lord Browne, Ford Motor Company's chief operating officer Sir Nick Scheele and the chairman and chief executive of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina.

The US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will also be addressing the conference and will have the opportunity to defend his president's stance on tariffs and accusations of protectionism.

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The BBC's Hugh Pym
"Digby Jones has warned business has been pushed as far as it can"

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