The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, backs business to improve living standards and Paul Drechsler, CBI President, calls for politicians on all sides to champion UK business in a global economy.
This year’s CBI Annual Dinner, hosted in partnership with strategic sponsors Lloyds Banking Group, brought together over six hundred business leaders at the Brewery in London on 22 May.
Speaking at the dinner, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered a keynote speech backing business to improve living standards across the UK. The speech focused on his vision for the UK outside the European Union that leads the way on the global stage and is at the forefront of the technological revolution. The Chancellor said he was confident about striking a mutually beneficial deal for both the UK and its European partners.
Turning to the Government’s domestic priorities, Mr. Hammond announced the go-ahead for a bold overhaul of Britain’s digital infrastructure – unveiling targets to roll-out the fastest broadband connections in the world. He went on to say that the cutting-edge full fiber, which can be 40 times quicker than superfast internet, will connect the UK’s post-Brexit economy and enable British firms to remain at the front of the pack with high-speed, reliable connectivity.
Read Philip Hammond’s speech here
Also speaking the dinner was CBI President, Paul Drechsler CBE, who emphasized the need for an urgent end to Brexit uncertainty, so business and government can get on with tackling the country’s poor productivity and unacceptable regional inequality. Paul went on to welcome the Prime Minister’s considerable efforts to find a compromise on customs but highlighted that Brexit impasse is a handbrake on the UK’s economy and said that it can and must be released. Finally, on Brexit, Paul called on both sides of the negotiations to focus on a pragmatic decision for the UK to remain in a customs union, unless and until an alternative is ready and workable.
Read Paul Drechsler’s full speech here
On business and politics, Paul spoke frankly about how sometimes business advice and expertise can be treated as an inconvenient truth, emphasizing that evidence is critical for a successful economy. Paul ended his final speech at Annual Dinner as President on a positive note, stating that when business gets going, it can change the world and where markets are opened to business, enterprise spreads, jobs are created, trade grows, and prosperity rises.