The next government must set the UK on course to tackle the biggest challenges of our day: giving every young person the skills for a changing world; reducing the blight of inequality across our country; and tackling the climate crisis.

This will require a more inclusive form of capitalism than ever before, and business is ready to play its full part, the CBI will say.

Launching ‘A Programme for Prosperity’, the CBI’s manifesto for all party leaders, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said:

“Whoever is in power after the election, the top priority must be to work with business to provide bolder, better and fairer answers to the challenges facing our country.

“We simply cannot afford another wasted year of political paralysis, indecision and distraction while productivity and investment suffer.”

Stressing the importance of ‘building long-term solutions to long-term problems’, the manifesto outlines steps the next government should take to unlock the UK’s competitiveness, including:

Addressing day-to-day concerns that have been neglected, including unreformed business rates, fixing the broken apprenticeship levy and completing vital infrastructure projects including HS2 and Heathrow

Establishing a new immigration system which provides access to labour and skills, focuses on contribution, not numbers, and gives business time to adapt

Committing to raise UK R&D expenditure to at least 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and set out a timeframe to increase this to 3% over the longer-term

Making 2020 a year of action on long term challenges, including a cross-party strategy for achieving Net Zero including heating and transport; a new business/government partnership on the scale of Beveridge to reskill 9 million people by 2030; and a recommitment to local industrial strategies and devolution to tackle regional inequality.

Creating an evidence-based policy environment for investment backed by sound, sustainable public finances.

All this can only be achieved by securing a good deal on Brexit: a future relationship based on staying aligned with EU rules where they are essential for frictionless trade and protecting the UK’s world-beating services sector.

Political speakers at the CBI Annual Conference include a Senior Cabinet Minister, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson. Others include Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary, UN Convention on Climate Change .

This year’s Conference is the first to take place during a general election and will be held at the InterContinental London – The O2, with an audience of more than 1,500 business leaders and senior politicians. There will be sessions on how business leads on climate change, mental health, inclusion and diversity in the workplace, and the UK’s place in the world.

Speaking ahead of the CBI’s Annual Conference on Monday, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said:

“The strength of the business-government relationship has underpinned the UK’s success for many decades.

“It has driven progress at home, from the building of the Channel Tunnel to the development of renewable energy to address climate change. It has helped to make the UK the leading destination in Europe for foreign investors, with total investment worth $1.9 trillion and supporting millions of jobs.

“But this relationship is being questioned. Too many people have lost faith in a system they don’t see working for them. In response, ideologies from both the left and right have emerged to fill the gap, pushing debate to extremes and offering superficial fixes to complex problems.

“And we are seeing the results. Public faith in our politicians and institutions continues to erode, the historic partnership between business and government is under strain. Business investment has fallen for 18 months and productivity growth remains stubbornly sluggish. Confidence in the UK is faltering.

“This cannot continue. But it is within our power to change it.”


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