On the new UK-EU agreement

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn has responded to the publication of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration:

“If this deal does pass Parliament, firms will do everything possible to make it work for communities across the UK. Business will continue to challenge the Government to negotiate the vital future partnership on the basis of economic evidence.”

17 Oct 2019

The Queen's speech

The CBI welcomed the focus on improving jobs, backed by investment in science, infrastructure and education, but Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, added:

“The Prime Minister has a domestic vision that could excite enterprise and drive growth. But it is impossible to ignore the Brexit straight-jacket. To deliver the ambition set out today, the will to get a deal must unlock a way to build a new, closely aligned relationship with the EU."

14 Oct 2019

To the Prime Minister

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn has responded to the Prime Minister’s speech at the 2019 Conservative Party Conference:

“The UK is at a crossroads. One road leads to the Prime Minister’s optimistic vision for our country. Firms will back the call for business and government to work together to lift growth. But this vision relies on a good Brexit deal. The No Deal turning ends in a very different place."

02 Oct 2019

To the Chancellor

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn has responded to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech at the 2019 Conservative Party Conference:

“The Chancellor has put his money on a modern, connected, low carbon economy, which is exactly what business wanted to hear. But it feels like there was a page missing from his speech on how government would respond to the serious rupture caused by failing to secure a deal with the EU."

30 Sep 2019

To the Education Secretary

CBI Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell has responded to the Education Secretary's speech at Conservative Party Conference by welcoming investment in education and skills as the foundation stone of a prosperous economy. He continued:

“The CBI has been calling for investment and reform of our skills system to put centre stage. The Education Secretary is right to make colleges and further education a top priority."

30 Sep 2019

To the Labour leader

In response to Jeremy Corbyn's speech to the Labour Party Conference, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said:

“An entire Labour conference passes with no mention of the value business brings to communities and workers across the UK: the jobs they create, the people they train, the innovation they deliver. Instead, firms have faced a volley of attacks. This is desperately disappointing."

24 Sep 2019

To the Shadow Business Secretary

CBI Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie has responded to Rebecca Long Bailey's speech to the Labour Party Conference, which included focus on greater action to tackle climate change:

“Business is completely behind the transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. To meet this target we must have ambitious policy. The Labour Party needs to work with business to make the transition a success.”

24 Sep 2019

To the Shadow Chancellor

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn responded to John McDonnell's speech at the Labour Party Conference, which included policies for a four day week on the same pay and an inclusive ownership fund:

"Business shares the Shadow Chancellor's aim of a fairer economy. But too many of Labour's policies would make this harder to achieve, harming the very people they are trying to help."

23 Sep 2019

Science & Technology Committee report on R&D spending

The CBI's Director of Innovation & Digital, Felicity Burch, welcomed the Committees call for an ambitous plan to reach the 2.4% R&D target by 2027. She added:

“The Committee’s recognition that innovation support must be more accessible and easier to navigate is something the CBI has long been calling for. Change will be critical if the UK is to remain the home of ground-breaking discoveries and inventions.”

11 Sep 2019

International student visas

The CBI's Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Few has responded to the government's proposal to give international students two years to find a job after graduating from university:

“This is unequivocally good news and sends a clear signal that the UK is open for business. Improving the UK’s post-study work offer will make us an even more attractive destination for global talent – benefiting both universities and businesses alike."

11 Sep 2019

On the COP26 announcement

The UK is set to host the international climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow in 2020. Matthew Fell, CBI's Chief UK Policy Director, said:

"This is a golden opportunity for the country to demonstrate its continued leadership from the front on global climate action."

10 Sep 2019

Labour leader's speech at TUC Congress

Jeremy Corbyn has given a speech to the TUC's Annual Conference in Brighton outlining his plans for extending workers' rights and signalling widespread renationalisation. CBI Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie commented:

"These proposals fail to reflect the reality in workplaces around the country. The vast majority of firms thrive on strong employee engagement, invest in training and prioritise wellbeing. They support jobs, sustainable wage rises and enforcement of employment law."

10 Sep 2019

The vote to delay Brexit

MPs have voted for a bill which, if it passes through the House of Lords, would force the Prime Minister to ask the EU to extend the UK's membership beyond 31 October. CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said:

“From the political turmoil a small chink of light for business - most firms back an extension over the known harm of no deal. Yet, with an election looming, many remain deeply concerned about the ongoing impact of uncertainty on the economy."

05 Sep 2019

The Spending Review

CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith welcomed the government's ambition to overcome regional inequalities, revitalise the education system and encourage the move to a net zero economy, but she added:

“Let’s be clear – in the event of a no deal, the damage to our economy means this ambition will count for nothing, and the country will be stuck in a swamp of uncertainty."

04 Sep 2019

On Scotland's Programme for Government

CBI Scotland Director Tracy Black responds as the First Minister announces her plans for the year ahead:

“The Programme outlines some ambitious spending commitments which makes growing the economy all the more important. Firms will be keen to see clear action on creating a competitive business and regulatory environment that helps them do what they do best – grow, invest and create jobs."

04 Sep 2018

On the G7 Summit

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, urged the Prime Minister to defend the international trading system at all costs, and to bring together all leaders with a compelling vision of inclusive and sustainable growth for the 21st century. He added:

“With a clear vision, the G7 can drive inclusive solutions to our shared global environmental and climate challenges, preserve free and fair trade, and harness the power of the digital economy while boosting jobs and living standards for all citizens.”

23 Aug 2019

The latest immigration statistics

Net immigration to the UK has fallen to its lowest levels since December 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics. CBI Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell commented:

“The downward trend in EU net migration in the last couple of years – combined with record low unemployment – means that skills shortages are getting worse."

22 Aug 2019

On GCSE results day

John Cope, the CBI's Head of Education and Skills policy, welcomed the rise in maths and science entries, the number of young women taking computing and those taking Spanish, but emphasised the need to tackle educational inequalities:

“Young people not reaching their potential has real consequences for our economy – it means we’ve lost business leaders, scientists, innovators, and the artists of the future.”

22 Aug 2019

On the HS2 review announcement

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has instituted a review of the HS2 project. Responding to the news, CBI Director of Infrastructure Tom Thackray said:

“The business message on HS2 is clear-cut - back it, build it, benefit from it. The debate has gone round the houses too many times."

22 Aug 2019

Latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures

That Scotland’s overall fiscal position has improved for a third year in a row is obviously welcome, said Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director. She added:

“While things are moving in the right direction, there’s absolutely no room for complacency, particularly as Scotland still lags way behind the rest of the UK when you look at the deficit as a percentage of GDP. "

21 Aug 2019

HMRC Brexit planning

Nicole Sykes, CBI Head of EU Negotiations, welcomed the news that more than 88,000 VAT-registered companies across the UK will be allocated an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number by HMRC as a sensible measure from the government. But she cautioned:

“The web of short and long-term consequences of no deal go well beyond this, which are both complex and damaging. That’s why the Government must put just as much time and effort into securing a deal.”

21 Aug 2019

Freedom of Movement

CBI Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie has commented on news that the government will end rules allowing EU nationals to live and work freely in the UK, in the event of a no-deal Brexit:

“Businesses and workers know the immigration system is changing. Yet announcing that the existing arrangements may end before a replacement has been designed, delivered or tested will only cause confusion."

19 Aug 2019

On A-Level results day

As pupils across England, Northern Ireland and Wales find out how they performed, CBI Head of Education and Skills policy John Cope said:

“This year’s A-Level results paint a mixed picture. Firms will be reassured by the rise in science subjects - especially among women - and that uptake in modern foreign languages has held."

15 Aug 2019

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