Brown 'will hurt business if he is next PM'

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Day-to-day interference in business by the Government is harming economic growth, the head of a leading business group will warn today

Miles Templeman, the director-general of the Institute of Directors, said business leaders feared the situation could worsen if Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister.

In his address to the IoD's annual convention, Mr Templeman will say: "For far too long, the Government has been fixated with the idea that leadership is about interfering in the day-to-day activities of business.

"Government should be about less interference, less bureaucracy and less regulation, and many people fear if Gordon Brown takes over, it will be even worse."

He said business leaders were worried that a Prime Minister Brown would choose policies based on his "Presbyterian left-wing past" rather than looking to a US model of enterprise.

Mr Templeman will also criticise political leaders across the EU for failing to cope with a rapidly changing world. "Too many European leaders are providing a classic illustration of a failure to embrace change," he will tell an audience of 2,500 directors. "The EU has an ageing population, a low birth rate and lacklustre economic growth. We need a humble EU leadership that avoids grand political projects and focuses instead on initiating economic change."

Mr Templeman will draw from examples of leadership down the ages as well as his experience at Threshers and Whitbread. He will say companies need bold targets but leaders should be wary of overambitious and unrealistic visions.

The convention, which begins today, will also hear speeches from business leaders such as Steve Ballmer at Microsoft and Todd Stitzer at Cadbury Schweppes.