Cameron defends business ethics

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David Cameron made a passionate defence of big business’s ability to change society for the good yesterday as he declared it a “powerful force for social progress”.

The Prime Minister also spoke out against the growing “anti-business snobbery” towards large firms that claimed money-makers had “no inherent moral worth like the state does”.

The business world has been increasingly accused by critics from across the political spectrum of being greedy and out of touch – typified in recent weeks by attacks on bankers’ bonuses.

More fuel was added to the debate today when taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland unveiled losses of £2bn but revealed it had paid staff nearly £1bn in bonuses last year.

But Mr Cameron used a speech to industry leaders at a business summit, attended by the Prince of Wales, to counter the accusations.

Speaking at the conference organised by Charles’ Business in the Community (BITC) organisation, the politician said: “In recent months we’ve heard some dangerous rhetoric creep into our national debate that wealth creation is somehow anti-social, that people in business are somehow out for themselves.

“I think we have to fight this mood with everything that we’ve got.

“Not just because it is wrong for our economy, because we need the jobs and investment that business brings, but because it is also wrong for our society.

“Business is not just about making money, vital as it is, it is also the most powerful force for social progress that the world has ever known.”

He added that “snobbish attitudes” towards money-makers should also be confronted: “The snobbery that says business has no inherent moral worth like the state does, that it isn’t really to be trusted, that it should stay out of social concerns and stick to making the money that pays the taxes.”