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Cameron wrong on boardroom quotas

Commenting on Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks on the need for more women in boardrooms, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Proposals to force companies to increase the number of women on boards are extremely ill-advised. Imposing a mandatory quota would be yet another irritant to UK firms. Burdensome overregulation of this kind is not a driver of economic growth.

“Companies themselves are best placed to decide the best commercial make up their board, and Government should have no part to play in these decisions.

“Mr Cameron is trying to draw lessons from the Nordic countries, but in Norway a 40% quota has been in place since January 2008 without any discernible overall impact on company performance one way or another. The new board members have been disproportionately recruited from politics and the civil service,with many holding multiple directorships because of the dearth of suitable candidates.

“In a free market, people progress because of their skills and qualifications, not because of their race or gender. Forcing more women into boardrooms will not boost productivity, it is a distraction from the actual question of how to get the economy to grow.”

To arrange an interview with Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General, please contact Nick Hayns, Communications Officer, 020 7799 8900,

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