With the result of the Tory leadership contest announced and Boris Johnson due to be appointed as the new Prime Minister – East Midlands Business Link speaks with a number of business leaders from around the region to gauge their response.
Edwin Morgan, IoD Interim Director General, comments:“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.
“IoD members are eager to see the country’s new leader channel his energies toward the task of bolstering British enterprise.”
James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants says: “Hopefully confirmation as to who the new Prime Minster is will at least give some certainty even if we still lack direction or an indication as to the outcome of Brexit. Certainly business and the economy needs clear direction from Government both at home and overseas especially in terms of the direction of travel and strategic intent for Brexit. We need a definitive outcome with strong visionary leadership.”
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, says: “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. Brexit has been absorbing government bandwidth for years now, leaving domestic challenges unaddressed. Chief among these are a broken business rates system, spiralling employment costs and derisory broadband and phone connectivity.
“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.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, adds: “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.”