Britain is open for business

An article appeared in The Indian Express on October 25 from The Economist, entitled: 'The Tories' barmiest policy: Britain's immigration policy is crippling business and the economy. Wake up, Mr Cameron'. I want to reassure readers that the British government is wide awake to the benefits of migration to the UK economy. There is no "keep out" sign on the White Cliffs of Dover. If there were a sign, it would read "open for business".

The British government has been clear in its aim to reduce net migration to the UK. Yet it is equally committed to ensuring that highly skilled workers, business people, students and visitors view the UK as one of the best places to invest and do business, study and visit. And India continues to be a key focus of our attention. So let's deal with some of the myths around the UK's approach to migration as it affects India.

There are many good reasons why there are 900 Indian companies already in the UK, why the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT companies and why last year Indians invested more in the UK than in the rest of the EU altogether. These rest on the following facts:

One, Britain is, and intends to remain, one of the world's largest economies. We are the seventh largest economy (India is the eleventh) with an annual GDP of over $2.4 trillion.

Two, we are one of the most business-friendly environments. The current government has cut red tape. It has cut corporation tax to 24 per cent this year and we will bring this down further to 22 per cent by 2014.

Three, we make it easy for entrepreneurs. The UK is ranked first in Europe by the World Bank as the easiest place to set up and run a business.

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