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Leading UK CEOs attack energy support policy as brake on investment

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The chief executives of three of the UK’s biggest companies have criticised the government’s energy policy for failing to spur investment, as pressure mounts on the chancellor to announce pro-business measures in the budget next week.Shell boss Wael Sawan, Miles Roberts, the chief executive of packaging company DS Smith, and Keith Anderson, the chief executive of ScottishPower, said investment in energy was being held back by uncertainty and planning difficulties.The comments come amid scrutiny of the UK’s attractiveness for business compared with rivals such as the US, which is planning large subsidies particularly for green energy.The UK’s broader competitiveness has also been put in the spotlight after Shell reportedly considered moving its headquarters out of the UK and another FTSE 100 company, building materials supplier CRH, said it would move its primary stock market listing from London to New York.On Monday, London-listed big data company WANdisco said it would also list its shares in the US.

WANdisco, which has headquarters in Sheffield, England, and California, said it was “in the early stages of proactively exploring” the option of a dual listing, but that it was “committed” to keeping its listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market.The budget on 15 March will offer the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, a chance to try to address some of the criticisms levelled by the chief executives and steer the UK out of an expected recession.The business leaders suggested the UK was being hampered by a lack of clarity, particularly regarding energy policy.Roberts said the UK government’s long-term energy plan was unclear, which made it difficult for DS Smith, a large-scale energy user that is a member of the FTSE 100, to

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