Business organisations state their case to new Prime Minister

Just hours into his new job at the head of the Government, Boris Johnson has been taken to task by the main organisations representing businesses across the UK.

Groups such as the FSB, BCC and CBI have stated their cases as to what they feel are the most pressing issues affecting business and economic growth.

Brexit is high on the agenda, along with things like business rates, technology, spiralling employment costs and the skills agenda.

Here’s what some of the main groups are saying.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

The FSB is calling on the new Prime Minister to resolve the Brexit impasse and then focus on the three key issues of modernising the business rates system, helping small businesses with spiralling employment costs and increasing investment in the UK’s broadband and phone infrastructure.

Representatives from the organisation met with Boris Johnson last week to discuss their priorities with him.

Responding to his election as PM, FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “We need to see a real sense of urgency from this new Prime Minister when it comes to creating a pro-enterprise environment. As things stand, small business confidence is at rock-bottom: political uncertainty has left us unable to invest, grow and plan for the future. The UK has long been one of the best places in the world to do business. It’s crucial that we keep it that way.

“We had promising discussions with Boris Johnson during his campaign and look forward to working with him on the issues that matter most to small businesses.

“Securing a pro-business EU withdrawal agreement that can command a majority in the House of Commons is task one for this new administration. We need to get back to basics. Closing the UK’s productivity gap and increasing GDP growth will only happen when small firms have the political certainty, tax reform and world-leading infrastructure needed to take risks and innovate. Time is of the essence for this new government.”

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The message to Boris Johnson from business communities around the UK couldn’t be simpler: the time for campaigning is over – and we need you to get down to business.

“Companies need to know, in concrete terms, what your government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on the 31 October – which would bring pain to communities across the UK and disruption to our trade around the world.

“We need to see swift action on practical, real-world issues here at home that hold businesses and communities back. We will be sending you 15 specific steps you can take – right now – to rebuild business confidence swiftly over the coming days. We will work with you wherever we can to make these proposals a reality, but we will also hold you and your government to account for delivery.”

Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Many congratulations to Boris Johnson. British business shares your optimism for the UK. Let’s work together to get our economy back on track and working for communities everywhere.

“Business needs three things in the first 100 days. A Brexit deal that unlocks confidence; clear signals the UK is open for business; and a truly pro-enterprise vision for our country.

“On Brexit, the new Prime Minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal. It will unlock new investment and confidence in factories and boardrooms across the country. Business will back you across Europe to help get there.

“Early signals back home also matter. From a new immigration system to green-lighting major infrastructure, there is no time to waste.”

Institute of Directors

Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General, said: “The new Prime Minister will take the reins at crunch-time for businesses up and down the country. It’s crucial that the incoming administration recognises that this is a daunting time for many firms, and is prepared to back them. We look forward to working with Government to achieve this.

“The UK faces long-term skills challenges that have contributed to stalling productivity growth across sectors and regions. Firms are crying out for infrastructure upgrades, while high costs and uncertainty are often stalling their own investment plans.

“A no-deal Brexit would only add to the uncertainty and distract from these challenges, but avoiding a disorderly exit will enable the country to focus on them and move forward to everyone's benefit. But whatever shape Brexit takes it is businesses that will bear much of the brunt of adapting, so we will continue to lead the charge for greater support for preparation.”