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Blair gains qualified CBI approval

Britain's business leaders yesterday passed judgement on Tony Blair and declared themselves satisfied with Labour's performance since it swept to power. In his opening address to the CBI's conference, Sir Colin Marshall, president, said: "We are now in the seventh month of the Labour administration and our considered opinion, both individually as business people and collectively as the CBI must be: so far, so good."

Sir Colin said the business community had been pleased and surprised at the genuine partnership that was developing with Government. But he denied that the CBI was supporting one political party and lashed out at critics led by Sir Stanley Kalms, Dixon's chairman, who claim it is no longer representative of the broad sweep of businesses. Sir Colin said the CBI had welcomed the Government's decision to give independence to the Bank of England in setting interest rates and its commitment to a business-friendly enterprise economy. But he highlighted areas where business was unhappy such as the national minimum wage.