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Minister’s comments rile U.K. business

Pursuit of “the fast buck” is undermining Britain’s economy, a government minister said yesterday as he announced a review of corporate governance, executive pay and takeovers.

Pursuit of “the fast buck” is undermining Britain’s economy, a government minister said yesterday as he announced a review of corporate governance, executive pay and takeovers.

Vince Cable, who heads the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, spoke at the annual conference of the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition government.

“The government’s agenda is not one of laissez-faire. Markets are often irrational or rigged,” Cable said in excerpts of his speech released in advance.

“So I am shining a harsh light into the murky world of corporate behaviour.”

Richard Lambert, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, was disturbed by Cable’s tone. “It’s odd that he thinks it sensible to use such emotional language,” Lambert said.

Cable’s announcement highlights tensions within the coalition between the Liberal Democrats and Cameron’s traditionally business-friendly Conservative Party.

 
 
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