#CBI2017 Blog: Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the CBI Annual Conference
Prime Minister Theresa May MP, lays out her vision for UK business at the #CBI2017 Annual Conference.
Key takeaways from the PM’s speech at Annual Conference
"Britain can thrive with the right economic foundations, a balanced approach to public spending, the best Brexit deal ... government playing a strategic role in support of economic growth right across the United Kingdom".
The PM started her conference speech by discussing her belief in the importance of the free market, stressing that globally it has been the most successful tool in bringing people out of poverty. She stressed that more success can be achieved in relation to partnership between business and government and highlighted the UK financial services sector, with the government playing a key role in putting regulatory systems in place which have allowed the sector to contribute £70bn to the HMRC and create one million jobs across the UK.
"I believe that the approach for a more collaborative partnership between business and Parliament is key"
The PM discussed trade visits over the past 12 months to India and Japan and its importance in driving Foreign Direct Investment, highlighting regional successes such as Toyota, BMW, CRF and Google’s £1bn investment in London.
"These investments are not simply numbers on a balance sheet… they encompass talent, skills, infrastructure and ideas".
The PM discussed the success that the Government has achieved since the financial crisis, in reducing the deficit by two-thirds, creating three million new jobs and reducing income inequality. The PM discussed how the Government intends to drive similar success over the next ten years, through the new Industrial Strategy by helping businesses to create jobs across the country, build homes, fund infrastructure, and back innovators, whilst also adopting a balanced approach to government spending.
"British businesses and the CBI itself can take credit for what Britain has achieved since the financial crisis … With the Industrial strategy we want to build an economy that works for everyone … I want the CBI to work with local government and elected Mayors to ensure all our country benefit"
The PM discussed the Brexit negotiations, stressing that the government was focused on achieving the best possible deal and was confident that the EU negotiations team are moving onto the next stage with EU27 negotiators. She stressed there has been good progress since Florence on citizens rights but that she was determined to guarantee a strictly time limited implementation period with greater clarity on being able to negotiate with other states during the transition period.
"I want to give as much certainty to business as possible"
The PM said the government wants to assist the UK in maintaining its status as a globally focused technology and innovation leader, building on significant strengths in FinTech, clean energy, digital technology and MedTech. The PM stressed that the UK wants to be a world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI). She committed to raising future R&D spend as a proportion of GDP as part of the Industrial Strategy, in order to bring us in line with international competitors such as Germany and the United States of America. She also highlighted the importance of education in ensuring the UK’s future as a digital economy leader, building on initiatives such as the £500m per annum T-Levels and broadening access to university education.
"Make Britain an international centre for technologies of the future … We must see these coming technologies as forces for good with huge potential for our lives"
The PM finished her speech by discussing the recent serious abuse and harassment across Parliament and highlighted that Parliament and Whitehall must follow businesses codes of conduct and hold themselves to higher standards. She announced the establishment of a new set of standards for the Conservative Party and new greivance procedure guidelines for Parliament.
"deeply troubling and public unease… for too long the powerful have been able to abuse their power… need to establish a new culture of respect, where complaints can be brought forward anonymously… I am determined to get it right in the future".
Recent business surveys suggest that the UK economy has maintained a slow pace of growth into early 2019, driven, at least in part, by continuing Brexit uncertainty, which has negatively impacting business confidence across multiple sectors.
This week the Prime Minister has been to Northern Ireland and Brussels as she seeks to renegotiate her Brexit deal. Meanwhile, the CBI has continued to underline the dangers of a no deal Brexit and has highlighted the hugely damaging implications for the UK of crashing out of trade deals it belongs to through membership of the EU.