Business leaders rail against ministers' anti-business stance

Business leaders increasingly feel the government is anti-business and is interfering too much in company matters with the issue of executive pay acting as a "lighting rod", according to a new study published on Thursday.

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), which is holding its annual conference in London on Thursday, issued its first FT/ICSA Business Bellwether survey that found one in three of the UK's top companies think the coalition government is not business friendly.

The damning results, based on answers from FTSE-350 company secretaries, come just a day after on plans to give investors a binding vote on executive pay.

Seamus Gillen, director of policy at the institute, told the Financial Times: "Businesses feel that they are constantly on the receiving end of regulation covering areas such as employment conditions, pensions and other areas of social policy. The demands may be reasonable in isolation. But cumulatively companies must factor in the costs at the same time as ministers urge them to create jobs."

The CBI business group added its voice to the growing chorus of criticism from business leaders on Thursday when it condemned the consultation for "extreme government intervention".

CBI president Roger Carr said extreme intervention can "tip the balance, converting goodwill into irritation and confrontation".