The CBI responds to the UK Prime Minister's speech

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has published its response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at its Annual Conference in London.

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull
Nov 22, 2016

Photo courtesy of the CBI

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said, “The Prime Minister has laid out an ambitious and inclusive vision for the economy, placing the UK front and centre of the world stage for innovation. Alongside her backing for free, fair and open markets this will be a powerful catalyst for investment.

“Businesses around the UK will strongly welcome a progressive partnership between industry and government, who together can build a modern industrial strategy tailored to the UK’s great strengths. As well as the focus on science and innovation, this must be underpinned by the other key growth enablers including skills, education and infrastructure, which will help to increase productivity and spread prosperity across the whole country.

“Business will rise to this challenge by driving forward the UK’s economy and renewing the social contract: the irresponsible behaviour of the few can no longer be allowed to tarnish the reputation and the contribution of the many.”

Innovation investment - the launch of a new fund

On the importance of innovation investment, Ms Fairbairn said, “The UK is home to world-class science and research and hundreds of innovative companies, but we need to do better at turning our new ideas into commercial successes.

“The substantial funding increase for R&D will make sure the UK remains a world leader in innovation and sends out an important signal to global investors. A first priority for this new investment should be Innovate UK, which has an excellent track record in stimulating business innovation but is currently underfunded relative to its international peers.

“The creation of a new Challenge Fund will embed research and innovation at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy. Business will have an important role to play in outlining the challenges and working with UKRI to coordinate different parts of the innovation ecosystem to meet them.”

Commenting on corporate governance, Ms Fairbairn said, “UK corporate governance is admired across the world. Our businesses know that brilliant employee engagement, openness with customers and support for local communities are essential to success.

“But firms recognise public concerns. The challenge now is to take the great practice that we see in so many places and apply it everywhere, eradicating the unacceptable transgressions that some companies do make.

The importance of employee engagement

“On employee engagement, different approaches will work for different businesses but a starting point is firms being able to outline and explain what approach they are taking – whether that's employees on boards, employee committees, dedicated representatives, or other models that genuinely address the issue.”

On the EU, CBI’s Director General also said, “The way in which we leave the EU and on what terms will be critical to jobs and investment here in the UK. It’s vital that the on-the-ground expertise of business is used to help get the best deal for the UK and we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to providing clarity on her negotiation plans, where possible.

“With only two years for such a complex negotiation, the Government rightly has on its radar that we should seek a smooth transition which gives firms time to adapt.”

For further information on the CBI Conference please click here

For more about the issues surrounding Brexit, read how a new Report reveals surprising consensus on Brexit among Remain and Leave voters

To find out more about the UK Department for International Trade's New digital service to help UK businesses launch onto global markets

See more articles and comment from FEM's members about global trade and Brexit on our Industry and Immigration Channels

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull

Claire Tennant-Scull

Head of Content & Events Director, Forum for Expatriate Management

Claire Tennant-Scull is Head of Content and acting Events Director at the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). She chairs all FEM’s Conferences and Summits in the Americas, APAC and EMEA. Claire also leads FEM’s London Chapter and manages the FEM website and associated reports. Claire has more than 20 years’ experience in publishing, working as a managing editor, writer, journalist and broadcaster, both in the print and digital world. She has worked for major publishing houses and was previously the Online Editor at a respected global mobility publisher. Claire is always keen to meet new members and to broaden the FEM community.

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