With the UK at a crossroads, facing Brexit negotiations and the adoption of new technologies that will define prosperity for generations, the CBI is calling on the next Government to prioritise stability and a long-term vision for the economy.
In Backing Britain’s Prosperity, the UK’s leading business organisation, speaking on behalf of 190,000 businesses, lays out how the next Government and employers can work together to make a success of Brexit and secure the bigger, long-term prize of making the UK the most inclusive, innovative and open economy in the world.
The top immediate priority for the next Government must be to provide as much certainty as possible to support firms in making the investment decisions necessary for the UK’s future prosperity. This means being as clear as possible on tax and regulatory stability, and firms’ ability to access skills.
For long-term success, the next Government should champion good business and work together on Brexit and an ambitious Industrial Strategy that takes a long-term approach to skills, infrastructure, innovation and trade.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“The UK is at a crossroads and the CBI is calling on the next Government to prioritise stability and a long-term vision for the economy.
“The next Government must provide as much certainty as possible to support firms in making the investment decisions necessary for the UK’s future prosperity. The UK’s hard-won reputation as a predictable, pro-enterprise economy must be protected – the world is watching.
“The CBI’s manifesto lays out how Government and business can work together to make a success of Brexit and secure the bigger, long-term prize of making the UK the most inclusive, innovative and open economy in the world.
“It is vital for both sides in negotiations to prioritise jobs and our £600 billion trade with the EU in the Brexit talks.
“The bigger prize can only be won if the next government commits to an ambitious long-term Industrial Strategy that builds the skills and infrastructure the UK so badly needs, and puts innovation at the heart of the UK economy. Brexit must not be allowed to crowd out fixing the foundations of our economy.”
In summary, the CBI is calling on the next government to:
Ensure the UK remains a great place to do business
- Reduce uncertainty through business tax predictability, a policy of ‘no surprises’, and minimal regulatory change (including through the Great Repeal Bill)
- Reverse the rising cumulative burden on business to enhance competitiveness, including a full review of business rates by the end of the next Parliament
- Ensure that businesses in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales continue to benefit from an effective UK single market.
Prioritise jobs and trade in EU negotiations
- Rule out a fall-back into World Trade Organisation rules and ensure robust interim transitional arrangements are agreed as soon as possible
- Immediately guarantee right to remain for EU citizens working in the UK, and by December 2017 confirm the new migration system that will enable firms to access the skills and people they need to deliver growth while addressing public concerns
- Get top minds from Government and business working together in ‘brightest and best’ joint Brexit taskforces on some of the most complex issues: customs; data, regulation, people, and EU funding.
Commit to a long-term industrial strategy: skills, infrastructure and innovation
- Ensure every child has a good core education, using Chartered College of Teaching and a new fund to support heads and teachers, and guarantee high quality careers advice in all schools by 2020, with firms as valued partners
- Build quality pathways to skilled careers by redesigning the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure it delivers quality and not just quantity, alongside a revolution in technical and digital skills through excellent implementation of new T-Levels by 2021
- Maintain timely progress on delivering a third runway at Heathrow and set out a long-term aviation strategy by 2018
- Push forward with projects that will drive productivity within as well as across regions, including demonstrating clear progress on Crossrail 2 and plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail
- Target R&D spending of 3% GDP by 2025, and kick start it through an enhanced tax allowance and renewed partnership between firms, universities and Government
- Ensure the durability and success of the Industrial Strategy by establishing clear objectives and milestones and monitor progress independently of Government.
Work with firms to embed good business practice
- Back business proposals to address poor conduct through a new ‘yellow card’ process for shareholders on remuneration, and for firms to report publicly on how they have engaged with employees and stakeholders
- Set up a joint Commission involving business and Government to examine the impact of new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and robotics, on people and jobs, with recommendations for action and policy by June 2018.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“In the Brexit negotiations, the new Government must put jobs and trade first. This will be a hugely complex process and they should bring the best minds from Government and business together to get the best outcome.
“Access to skills and labour is critical for business, so firms want to see details of what a new migration system might look like by the end of the year
“The new Government must work alongside business to enable good business practice to be embedded in all parts of the economy. The UK’s corporate governance ranks among the best in the world, but it must evolve to keep pace with higher public expectations and a changing world. Inclusion and diversity must be a hallmark of the UK of the future.”