This week, businesses learned that Boris Johnson will succeed Theresa May as the 77th Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Faced with a narrow working majority in Westminster, reinjecting fresh impetus into the UK economy and just 100 days to resolve the Brexit impasse, there’s no getting away from the scale of the task facing Johnson as he steps into the hotseat in 10 Downing Street.
Ahead of the result of the Conservative party leadership election, the CBI published its business manifesto, highlighting our latest interactions with you.
Putting your best foot forward
As with all premierships, early signals matter. The UK is a fantastic place to do business, but we must be honest – the reputation of our country has taken a hit in recent years. Brexit is distracting politicians and businesses from making much-needed progress on the domestic agenda, while swings in the political debate risk turning the clock back on hard-won progress to improve the UK’s international attractiveness.
In his first months in office, Mr Johnson has a real chance to breathe a new lease of life into the UK economy and show the world we are open for investment.
Informed by the hundreds of conversations we have with you each day; the CBI’s manifesto calls for Mr Johnson to take action in three areas:
- Act fast to show the world that the UK remains a trusted place to do business
- Build a compelling economic vision for the UK of the future
- Back business as a force for good.
Acting fast to instil confidence in both the immediate and long term
By working with business, Mr Johnson’s government can get the economy back on track. This means no ambiguity on essential national infrastructure, from HS2 to Heathrow. It means an immigration system that is controlled but also open and welcoming. And it means fixing economic policy that isn’t working, from business rates to the Apprenticeship Levy.
The ongoing Brexit uncertainty remains a challenging backdrop to all domestic priorities and the CBI is clear that a no deal scenario will be seriously damaging. But Brexit must not obscure the country’s long-term vision. Time is long overdue for a renewed focus on bold, sustainable steps to drive up economic growth and share the benefits across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Longer-term, the government will need to set out a path to building a United Kingdom that is not only more prosperous, but fairer, grounded in the Industrial Strategy. Bold action on skills, education, innovation and infrastructure policy will be the foundations for future success – all in the context of our world-leading net zero carbon target by 2050.
Backing business as a force for good
Through these actions, Mr Johnson can back up his campaign promises and prove his government will be indisputably pro-business. By supporting business, Mr Johnson can ensure every part of the country benefits from enterprise, jobs and growth.
As the new government takes shape, the CBI will continue to promote your business priorities in all our public interventions and private engagements. That is only possible through your contributions. We need you to share your challenges, concerns, and opportunities during this critical period for UK businesses.
By working together and showing the world that the UK is a truly pro-enterprise, open and inclusive economy, we can deliver for you and communities across the country.