Reject economy doom-mongers says CBI chief

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The leader of Britain's biggest business group urged Britons to reject the "doom and gloom" prediction that terrorist strikes on the US would push the global economy into recession.

"We are living in uncertain times, but you won't hear me talking about general recession," Digby Jones, director general of the Confederation of British Industry told delegates at the Liberal Democrats annual party conference in Bournemouth.

"The stock markets around the world have tumbled and continue to be fragile but we must resist the doom and gloom scenario as there is still so little official data."

Jones described the mood in the business community as "anxious rather than gloomy" as the world waits to see what the US will do in retaliation for the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York City.

"With certain obvious exceptions in specific sectors, companies are reporting that the direct impact on activity has so far been very limited," Jones said.

He said some businesses were fearful of a general increase in insurance premiums, while others have expressed concerns about rising energy costs if a US retaliation leads to a hike in oil prices.

Jones also appealed to the government to help the tourism industry, which was already suffering from falling numbers due to the foot-and-mouth epidemic. On Sunday, the British tourism industry predicted a 20 percent drop in visitors to Britain this year and losses of more than £1.5 billion.

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