How CBI will seek to influence political manifestos ahead of General Election: Beckie Hart

This week the CBI called for leadership from the next government to focus on long-term solutions, not short-term headlines, to unlock the UK’s true potential. A strong message to accompany the launch of our Business Manifesto.

This manifesto is honest about the issues businesses face – from sluggish productivity and persistent labour and skills shortages, to underperforming business investment. Issues we see all too clearly right here in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Developed in partnership with our members, it sets out practical ways of overcoming them, in a programme for action the next government can use to hit the ground running, change gear on our economy, and deliver sustainable growth that benefits everyone.

To help reignite the UK’s competitiveness.

Beckie Hart has her say.Beckie Hart has her say.
Beckie Hart has her say.

To prepare for the future of work.

To meet our climate commitments and secure green growth.

To stay ahead on technology and innovation.

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And to find new ways to work together to transform public service delivery.

It comes hot on the heels of our General Election Countdown conference, where we heard from the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and the Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

Both were pitching theirs as the party of business. Both were delivering the kind of positive messages that businesses need to hear around economic vision, ambition and certainty.

Two days later the Chancellor followed up by delivering on our long-standing call to make a permanent change to the tax landscape for business investment at the Autumn Statement and other measures to raise sustainable growth in the UK.

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We’ll be using our manifesto to build on those commitments, to influence party manifestos and to campaign on those issues where businesses can play their part in securing sustainable growth, if government, whoever is in charge, gives them a chance.

Because even if you think it’s too early to be talking about the General Election, now is exactly the right time to make sure the business voice is heard.

Especially on points where there is consensus before they get drowned out by campaigns focused on the differences.

It’s time to take the politics out of the conversations surrounding the issues firms face every day – it’s our chance to seize the real growth opportunities up for grabs.

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Like on the barriers holding firms back in our region, for example access to labour and skills, speedier planning decisions and grid connectivity - where the right action can deliver big results for the economy.

And it’s why we’ll be using the manifesto to inform our work ahead of the mayoral elections in May 2024 too.

Government needs to take the bold decisions, in the national economic interest. And business needs to work with them.

The UK is at its best when politicians and businesses work together.

And an election gives us the opportunity to reshape our economy together and deliver on our shared ambitions for the benefit of everyone.

Beckie Hart is CBI regional director for Yorkshire and Humber

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