Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Business leaders to advise Tories

David Cameron
Mr Cameron said he wanted advice from all sectors of the economy

David Cameron has asked a group of leading businessmen to join an "economic recovery group" to advise the Conservatives on UK economic recovery.

The group, which will meet every fortnight, will include senior bankers, retailers, industrialists and former civil servants.

They include Next's Simon Wolfson and ex-Vodafone boss Sir Chrisopher Gent.

The Tory leader said the group was not a "trophy cabinet" and would focus on real issues now and in the future.

'Top talent'

Announcing the initiative, Mr Cameron said the economy was in "very difficult times" and he wanted to call on the "top talent" available to guide the Conservatives' thinking on key issues.

A handful of leading businessmen and policymakers will sit alongside Mr Cameron, shadow chancellor George Osborne, business secretary Ken Clarke and other senior Tories on the new economic recovery group, which will meet every fortnight.

The group will also include former Lloyds TSB chairman Sir Brian Pitman and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Mr Cameron added.

Mr Cameron described the group as "very strong", adding that it would focus on the "issues in front of the British economy and the plans we need for the future".

The members of the group will be attending in a personal capacity rather than having to be members of the Conservative Party, he added.

Mr Cameron has sought to strengthen his economic credentials in recent weeks and the new committee comes after he recalled former chancellor Ken Clarke to his frontbench team as shadow business secretary.

Gordon Brown has taken advice from a group of "wise men", such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, for several years. The Lib Dems set up their own economic recovery committee earlier this year.

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