Allied Domecq's chief executive has launched an attack on the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, according to the Financial Times. In response to an FT survey of the country's business leaders, Philip Bowman said that the UK is rapidly losing its competitive edge thanks to increased government spending.

Bowman attacked "interventionist" government policies, saying that they were adding to Allied Domecq's UK cost base. He also told the FT that higher levels of borrowing were "very concerning", saying that spending in the public sector "has not been accompanied by significant efficiency gains".

In his response to the paper's survey of Britain's leading businesses about their expectations for 2004, Bowman dismissed the chancellor's assumptions in his pre-Budget report as "unrealistic". Bowman feels that indirect and direct tax increases seem "inevitable at a more politically expedient moment".