11 October 2018


Conservative Party right to back business

The CBI welcomes the pro-enterprise tone struck by the Prime Minister but there is still more to be done.

Conservative Party right to back business

Last week, CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, Deputy Director-General, Josh Hardie, and Chief Policy Director, Mathew Fell, attended the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

During Conservative party conference, Carolyn, Josh and Matthew took part in 16 speaking events, 21 political stakeholders and had countless media hits including interviews on Channel 4 news and BBC News.

Alongside these meetings, the CBI also responded to the key speeches from the Cabinet. Commenting on Chancellor Philip Hammond speech, Carolyn noted the comeback in pride and confidence in British business which she said had been missing from Westminster for too long.

Carolyn went on to welcome the reform of the Apprenticeship Levy and highlighted that funding for the National Retraining Partnership will help people embrace technological change. She said that recognising and supporting the great work underway between small and large business in supply chains will lift regional prosperity. Despite the welcomed spirit of partnership which must run through every policy and every government department. Carolyn emphasised that ideas such as a digital tax could backfire on entrepreneurs and the high street if developed without proper consultation and should go hand-in-hand with business rates reform.

Read the full CBI response to the Chancellor’s speech 

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s speech, the CBI welcomed the unambiguous call to back business and said that championing a pro-enterprise economy is the only way to show the world that Britain is a fantastic place to create the products and services that power growth. In the response, Carolyn emphasised the importance of getting a new relationship with Europe that delivers frictionless trade. She went on to point out that Brexit must not suck the oxygen out of domestic policy and urged a renewed approach to housing and education that will lift productivity and improve people’s lives.

Read the full CBI response to the Prime Minister’s speech 

Away from stakeholder meetings and responding to speeches, the CBI also held a fringe event with the BVCA. The panel featured speeches by the Chancellor and Sam Gyimah, Minister of State for Universities and Science and Tim Hames, Director-General of the BVCA. Chaired by Adam Bolton Editor-at-large of Sky News, the panel discussed how best to build a Britain able to compete and thrive on the world stage. Carolyn noted the importance of the government working together with business to develop policies to improve living standards.

For a roundup of the Conservative conference listen to the CBI’s recent political insight podcast

For more information please contact hannah.collins@cbi.org.uk