Our response to Theresa May's speech
The business response to the Prime Minister's Conservative Party Conference speech.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“In response to the profound challenges and opportunities of Brexit and creating a fairer and more prosperous economy, the Prime Minister has today planted important stakes in the ground. She has recognised the fundamental importance of good government working in partnership with responsible business to improve lives. It is the answer to the UK’s most pressing problems, from curing illness and reducing poverty, to protecting the environment and creating fulfilling careers for next generation.
“The Prime Minister’s praise for the risk takers, innovators and entrepreneurs and business, large and small, was refreshing and important to hear.
“But markets are not perfect and the UK’s business community recognises the power of effective state intervention.
“There is no question that the UK’s housing shortage needs action, not only to help people in communities across the country, but also for businesses to attract and retain workers. Strong, decisive intervention alongside the UK’s many world-class homebuilders is the key. The Prime Minister has called on business to respond and get building; she will get the answer she has asked for.
“Affordable energy matters for everyone and particularly for the most vulnerable. However, today’s announcement is an example of state intervention that misses the mark. Market-wide price caps are not the best answer. Suppliers are already acting, providing support to those on pre-payment meters, and continued action to phase out standard variable tariffs would benefit a wide range of consumers, including those on the lowest incomes.
“Skills were lower on the conference agenda than their importance to the UK’s future warrants, so the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackle student debt while retaining secure university funding was welcome.
“On Brexit, it was important to see a continuation of the positive tone from the Florence speech. The next stage must be urgent action to agree the standstill transition with EU partners by the end of the year, and the shape of the final deal as early as possible in the New Year. Every day wasted is lost investment and new jobs not created.”