Brown for greater Indian presence

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will unveil UK's business plans in his budget, reports Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 19:22 IST

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, will use his March 22 budget to unveil a major thrust on British investment in India, amid growing fears that Britain is failing to capitalise on opportunities in Asia.

The report in The Daily Telegraph said the push comes as the City of London opens its first office in India and the London Stock Exchange is understood to be examining a link with the National Stock Exchange in Mumbai.

It said Brown would set out plans to promote London as the world's leading financial centre and improve its links with India and China. Though the report quoted no sources but said the plans will form a significant part of the Budget on March 22, which is expected to be one of the least economic and most political in recent years. It includes the "beefing up" of UK Trade and Investment, the government organisation whose job it is to promote British businesses abroad.

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said that even in China, Britain is behind its European counterparts in terms of marketing its businesses and products in the local market. "In Shanghai you see big Finnish, Swiss and German trade centres, but no British equivalents," he said. "The British community says it is not getting top-level political backing."

Back from a whistle-stop tour of India, Michael Snyder, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, said the Treasury was "very supportive" of the plans. Snyder said, in India there was immense goodwill towards the UK, particularly because of the shared language between the countries. He said the issue of the Raj and Empire "is history".

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 19:22 IST