Early signals matter

The new Prime Minister has a real chance to inject a new lease of life into the UK economy.

For three years Brexit has stalled the UK economy. This needs to change. This is why the CBI launched a business ‘manifesto’ for the East of England and the UK. At its heart is a proposal for a new era of partnership between business and government. Only by working together can we seize opportunities, overcome challenges and unite the country.

The UK economy has many strengths: a skilled workforce; world leading universities; global hubs of service and manufacturing excellence. Together with our language, location and ease of doing business, ‘Brand Britain’ remains a powerful global calling card. It is a mark of quality and a magnet for international investm ent.

But as the UK steers post-Brexit course, a new wave of economic, social and technological change will reshape our country, posing challenges and opportunities for how we live and work. We have the chance to build a UK that is not only more prosperous but also fairer. The CBI and its members are committed to working with the government to seize these opportunities.

We also want UK research and development expenditure to reach three per cent of GDP in the long-term and more funding to support firms at the pre-commercialised stage of R&D included in the forthcoming Government Spending Review. This will help the east grow and thrive in the years ahead.

In the East of England the CBI are proposing the government support the following areas, which they believe are critical for regional growth. These are:

  • Improve connectivity within the region and beyond to bring growth to all parts the East, including more resilient road and rail connections, and better international and digital connectivity to tackle the region’s many ‘not-spots’ which are holding business back in the more rural parts of the region.
  • Provide long-term certainty on initiatives such as the Local Industrial Strategies and UK Shared Prosperity Fund to ensure areas have the capacity to deliver these strategies and they meet the needs of local businesses.
  • Develop a clear framework for devolution that provides clarity and flexibility to ensure all parts of the East of England can benefit from some form of devolution.

On one issue raised often with me, the issue of business rates, we are calling for real action. The new government should publish a roadmap to deliver annual business rates revaluations and to undertake a comprehensive and independent review of the business rates regime to find a long-term solution to their distorting impact as soon as possible.

The new Prime Minister must back up his campaign promises and prove to be indisputably pro-business. By backing business, the Government can ensure East of England benefits from enterprise, jobs and growth. We have clear ideas about how to move forward the East of England and we hope to create a new partnership of business and government.

Our area is already home to some the industries of tomorrow. These plans simply means jobs, investment and growth not just for Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes but every part of the region and beyond. We must work with Government to join up our key towns and cities in the east through genuine partnership working. Concepts like the Cambridge to Norwich tech corridor must become a reality.

“We have some of the world’s most competitive and innovative companies based here and the local industrial strategies layout a roadmap to ensure the region can continue to punch above its weight and attract global talent


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