This week, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, met with several Permanent Secretaries including Alex Chisholm (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), Antonia Romeo (Department for International Trade), and Charles Roxburgh (Second Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury) to ensure that the business voice was heard on best practice in employee-employer relationships and maximising investment in R&D and innovation. Carolyn also sought to improve overall business and government cooperation, advocating that the public and private sector both have best practice which could be shared between the two groups.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, spoke to the Chancellor’s Special Advisor to highlight the CBI’s of priorities for the CBI in the Spring Statement, due in early March, and the upcoming spending review. These include: more funding for skills training, continuing the promised reform of the Apprenticeship Levy, and further funding to support UK R&D. Rain also raised Brexit, arguing that no deal was a bad outcome for British business.
Carolyn and Josh Hardie, Deputy Director-General of the CBI, also met with Gavin Barwell, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, this week. With regards to the possibility of a no deal exit from the European, Carolyn said that this would have a huge, negative, impact on jobs across the country. She also noted that the current uncertainty around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was affecting investment in the UK, which would curtail our future growth. The CBI will continue to put this message across to Ministers, backbench MPs, and the civil service alike.
Dan Large, CBI Head of Infrastructure, met with Luke Graham MP this week to discuss rail infrastructure and the future development of the network. Dan used the opportunity to raise the CBI’s view on maximising existing infrastructure, improving links to key markets, the shift to low carbon transport, smart ticketing and digital connectivity. Dan reiterated that businesses have vastly improved the UK’s rail system since it was first privatised and that Labour’s calls for nationalisation continue to miss the point that where the UK should be a great place to invest, these proposals would wind the clock back on the economy.
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