Asda and Persimmon bosses form part of Cameron’s Business Advisory Group

Andy Clarke, Asda's chief operating officer

Andy Clarke, Asda's chief operating officer

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The heads of two of Yorkshire’s largest companies are to sit on a new panel advising the Government, Downing Street has announced.

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda and Jeff Fairburn of Persimmon will both make up part of the new Business Advisory Group, which is designed to allow ministers the chance to hear industry’s concerns about economic policy and issues including David Cameron’s renegotiation of the UK’s links with Europe ahead of the in/out referendum.

Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, said the company was seeing 'good confidence' in the housing sector thanks to an increasingly competitive mortgage market. 'Picture: Simon Hulme

Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, said the company was seeing 'good confidence' in the housing sector thanks to an increasingly competitive mortgage market. 'Picture: Simon Hulme

The group will meet on a quarterly basis from this autumn and includes leaders from a wide range of industries from manufacturing to retail.

Mr Clarke said: “It’s a privilege to have been asked by the Prime Minister to join his business advisory panel. I know how important the customer is to business success, and with over 30 years’ experience in retail, the importance of dedication and customer service has never changed - after all Britain is a nation of shopkeepers.”

Another of those assigned to the group, Santander chairwoman Ana Botin, said: “I’m very pleased to join the Business Advisory Group. I believe dialogue between government and business is vital to growth and prosperity as we aim to boost UK productivity.

“I look forward to serious discussion about the opportunities and challenges businesses face during the rebalancing of the economy.”

Downing Street said the group will “act as a sounding board through which ministers can listen to and debate concerns and priorities facing industry, and can discuss the Government’s economic and business policies around key areas such as productivity, European reform and housing”.

Also among the group’s members are: Alison Brittain, the incoming chief executive of Whitbread, Bob Dudley head at BP, Nigel Wilson chief executive of Legal and General, Carolyn McCall head at easyJet, David Joseph chairman at Universal UK and John Nelson Chairman of Lloyd’s.

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