By Sean McGuire
British business was surprised by the result of last week’s election. But this surprise quickly settled down to a hard-nosed assessment of the implications for firms.
The next Government needs to deliver an open, competitive and fair post-Brexit economy that works for everyone across all our nations and regions. This can only be achieved if the next Government doesn’t put the brakes on business, remains open to the world and sets out a pro-enterprise vision.
We need to move much faster to fix the foundations of the UK economy and our productivity problem. We need meaningful progress on a modern industrial strategy by the end of the year, with real change on the ground on skills, infrastructure and innovation.
The CBI believes that, if the UK Government takes stock and reassess its stance, the General Election can provide an opportunity for a reset of the Brexit negotiations and make a mutually positive outcome more likely.
For the sake of our economy and the prosperity of our regions, the CBI has been saying it is time to change tack. We now have the opportunity to reset and prioritise the economy in the Brexit negotiations - we all want a UK and Europe that is prosperous, safe, inclusive and rooted in strong economies. The CBI wants to see the Government use this moment to reset how the UK achieves that.
Our Government can lead this. It can change its tone and show that negotiations can be conducted in good faith by granting the rights of EU citizens to remain in our country as soon as possible. It can be clear that the UK sits at the negotiating table with an open mind, and urge EU negotiators to follow suit. It can put our shared objective of barrier-free trade with Europe back at the heart of talks. It can calm business nerves through transitional arrangements and embrace a new spirit of collaboration and openness that involves companies of all sizes and governments of all nations of the UK.
A good deal matters for business not just in the UK but also for business across Europe as trading and investments ties are so intertwined. For the sake of our shared economies and the prosperity of our regions and citizens, we firmly believe that it is time to put the economy at the top of the agenda.
For this reason we are being clear and vocal. We are asking for a change in tone from both sides: there is £600bn worth of trade between the UK and the EU27 each year so put our mutual interest in trade, jobs and people first.
Companies will support the UK Government to develop our inclusive, innovative and open economy. More than ever, the new Government must work together with business to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Business can provide the evidence, ideas and solutions from the shop, office and factory floor to secure our future prosperity.
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