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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Business chiefs 'to advise Brown'
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown wants to redefine the relationship with business
Gordon Brown is creating a special council of business leaders to advise him directly as Prime Minister, the BBC's business editor has learned.

It will meet two or three times a year and will advise Mr Brown on whether government policy is helping or damaging Britain's competitiveness.

Members will be available to Mr Brown to give him advice as and when needed.

There may also be a slimming-down of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to focus on competitiveness.

Focus on skills

The BBC's business editor Robert Peston says has been told that setting up a business council was a key part of the government's plan to redefine its relationship with business.

Damon Buffini, Permira
Stuart Rose, Marks & Spencer
Tony Heywood, BP
Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco
Arun Sarin, Vodafone
Stephen Green, HSBC
Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce
Mervyn Davies, Std. Chartered
J-P Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline

Separately, a new department focussed on skills and innovation is expected to be created.

It would bring together the science and innovation bits of the DTI, and the training and skills parts of assorted departments.

Members of the business council are expected to include the bosses of several of the UK's largest companies, including Tesco, BP, Vodafone, HSBC and Glaxo SmithKline.

Damon Buffini, who runs the UK's leading private equity firm Permira, will also sit on the council.

Our business editor said Mr Buffini's inclusion suggests that the Treasury's current review of the private equity industry would not significantly change its tax treatment, despite some recent criticisms.

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