Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Chancellor must do more, says business leader. The best guarantee for Brexit is “economy that grows”.

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Tony Danker is expected to call for more economic migration in parts of the UK to address labor shortages in his keynote speech at the conference.

The government has no economic growth plan, said the head of Britain’s largest business lobby group.

Tony Danker of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had prioritized stability but warned that without improved growth Britain could not afford improved public services.

The government would have to “come back with more,” he said.

Mr. Danker addressed the CBI’s annual conference, which called for a new focus on growth.
He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that the autumn statement “was all about fighting inflation and getting the government budget in decent shape and that has to be done”.

“I’m going to ease off a bit on Jeremy Hunt, who I thought did a good job with a bad hand. I like to think that this was the first part of a two-part fall statement. The first part was about stability, fighting inflation and getting the national budget in a certain shape.”

But he stressed, “there was really nothing telling us that the economy will avoid another decade of low productivity and low growth.”

“Jeremy Hunt has done some things that will be very welcome, but he’s also done business, and everyone’s paying more taxes, and a fear that there just isn’t enough to turn around and say, ‘We can grow again ‘”, he said. “So I don’t think he’s done enough, I think he’s going to have to come back with more,” he added.

In his keynote speech at the conference, the business leader will again call for a range of supply-side reforms, including measures to tackle labor shortages. He is expected to tell politicians to be “hands on” on immigration.

He will say at the CBI’s two-day annual conference in Birmingham: “Let’s have economic migration in areas where we won’t be bringing the people and skills home anytime soon. In return, let’s make these visas temporary.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is expected to speak at the conference, has said he wants to reduce immigration numbers. But on Saturday, I revealed Treasury officials fear it will mean even higher taxes or bigger spending cuts.

Mr Danker will also push for a reform of the bureaucracy, saying: “I know that some conservative politicians today feel that Europe is to blame for this matter. But the biggest regulatory obstacles companies face are based on UK laws, created by a UK Parliament and administered by UK regulators.”

He is also said to announce the dispute with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“Boris Johnson has reached an agreement with the EU that allows us to continue trading duty and quota free with our largest trading partner. There’s good stuff in there. Currently blocked. Still, we’re arguing about the protocol. Nevertheless, we argue about sovereignty. Sit down a table, make the deal, unlock the trade and cooperation agreement. I say to Brexiteers, the best guarantee for Brexit is an economy that grows.”

The CBI, which represents 190,000 UK companies, will tell UK companies that “while it may feel like growth has taken a back seat as everyone focuses on economic stability”, stability will be key to future growth .

“We cannot afford to lose sight of the long-term picture. We need to start putting concrete plans in place to get us back on track for growth in 2023,” the CBI said.

The UK economy has lagged behind other developed nations since the pandemic and is expected to remain in recession throughout next year.

Speaking ahead of the Chancellor’s package, Mr Danker said he had spoken to many companies about their plans, adding it was clear the Government’s tax package was crucial for many in deciding whether or not to invest in the UK.

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