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The CBI has given its full response to the Queen’s Speech

The CBI has given its full response to the Queen’s Speech.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“It’s good to see that the recent heatwave has warmed the Government’s view of business and its contribution to people’s lives.  But this welcome change in tone needs to be backed by clarity and action now.  Firms will expect all politicians to put pragmatism before politics, starting with Brexit.

“Fast action on Industrial Strategy, skills and infrastructure will show that the UK is a great place to do business.  But now it’s all about pace.”

On Brexit, Carolyn said:

“The Government’s focus on a deep and special relationship will help secure a deal that works for everyone in the UK. The ingredients that business need to make a success of Brexit have not changed.

“The Bills that have been outlined will go some way to providing the framework for what happens when the UK leaves the EU.  What matters now is meaningful progress in the negotiations.  A top priority must be to maintain the full economic benefits of the Single Market and Customs Union until a final settlement is agreed and implemented. 

“If the Government moves forward in real partnership with business, drawing on its expertise, it will be in a strong position to protect and strengthen the UK’s economy during this vital period and beyond.”  

On trade and customs, Carolyn said:

“Businesses will welcome the ambitions set out in the Trade Bill and embrace the opportunities of a global trade agenda, but will want to see a clear strategy for achieving this.  

“The number one priority has to be the relationship with the EU and delivering frictionless trade. Companies will be seeking to understand how the Customs Bill relates to the Brexit negotiations.  They will not want to see a Bill that puts up barriers between the UK and our closest trading partners.”

On immigration, Carolyn said:

“A growing, global Britain needs to have access to the best talent from around the world, while continuing to build the UK’s domestic skills base. The Government can both control migration and support economic growth.

“Employers now urgently need clarity on what a new system will look like - such as the inclusion of a preferential route for EU migrants - as it will affect their willingness to invest in the UK. 

“If the UK is to be able to meet changing labour needs, a blunt cap is the wrong approach.  Business and the Government should work together to build a model that’s fit for purpose.” 

On workers’ rights, Carolyn said:

“The UK’s flexible labour market has helped create more jobs than ever before, and our world-leading corporate governance system has helped us to run our businesses in a way that delivers prosperity and fairness. 

“Firms believe that practices must continue to evolve to raise productivity and increase trust.  The Government must support businesses to protect the UK’s strengths, while enhancing responsible business practice.”

On energy, Carolyn said:

“Putting customers at the heart of the energy market is a must. Major market interventions aren't the answer, and it is crucial that the Government, regulators and industry work together to empower customers and help them to manage bills.”

On infrastructure, Carolyn said:

“Infrastructure is a key driver of productivity, which matters for living standards. Day in, day out, Britain’s businesses rely on our roads, railways and runways to move their goods, services and people up and down the country.

“With spades due to hit the ground for the first phase of HS2, we welcome plans to  build a connection to Crewe. Now we have had decisions on several infrastructure projects, we need to take it up a gear - we need action, not words and delivery, not delay.”

On social care, Carolyn said:

“Companies providing social care will welcome the consultation, but ultimately meaningful action is needed on funding and reform.” 


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