'Forget Brexit and invest in UK' Hammond tells Davos meeting

Philip Hammond the UK chancellor speaks to 100 business leaders at Davos insisting the UK will still be a great place to invest and do business after Brexit whilst announcing £100 million in new research funding for science, innovation and AI.

Davos in snow
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond insisted the UK would still be "a great place to business" after Brexit, in a speech to more than 100 business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

Extra funding announced for UK science and innovation focusing on AI

At a closed-door lunch organised by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Mr Hammond also announced that £100 million from the government's multi-billion fund to promoted science and innovation would be used to create 1,000 new PhD places across the UK to develop the next generation of Artificial Intelligence."Britain is a great place to do business. And we are determined, as we leave the EU, to make sure it remains that way," Mr Hammond said."We are leading the way in the tech revolution. The UK digital sector is now worth over £130 billion with jobs growing at twice the rate of those in the wider economy."I want to ensure we remain the standard bearer, so we must invest in our new economy so that it can adapt and remain competitive. We are backing British innovation to help create growth, more jobs and higher living standards."

Research funding to support NHS, business and pollution monitoring

In a statement, the Treasury in London said the £100 million fund would "bolster UK universities’ existing strengths in research excellence", adding, "The money, part of the modern Industrial Strategy, will fund research into life-saving technology to be used in NHS hospitals, and improve voice-recognition software for business and consumers."The funding will also help cities to protect citizens from pollution hotspots through the development of early warning systems."However, Mr Hammond's bid to convince business leaders of the attractiveness of the UK for investment appeared at odds with a warning earlier from Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, who said fears were growing internationally that a no-deal Brexit posed a threat to the stability of the global economy.

CBI director says Brexit is damaging UK brand and a risk to global economy

Speaking at a private breakfast in Davos with business leaders, Ms Fairbairn said the government's failure to get its withdrawal agreement with the EU approved by parliament was damaging Britain’s brand abroad and had joined a list of systemic risks to the world economy.She told the Guardian, “At my meetings at Davos, there is a recognition that the causes of vulnerability of the global economy now include Brexit.“It is everyone’s interest that Britain leaves the EU in a way that works for the British economy, the European economy and, indeed, the global economy.

 Emphasis given to rule out no-deal Brexit and boost investor confidence

"The world is watching as the UK seeks to navigate Brexit, and some are questioning the UK’s global brand. It’s a vital time to remind global investors about our core British strengths: openness, creativity, practicality, a pro-enterprise culture. The sooner we resolve our Brexit choices, the sooner we can return to these roots.“The most critical thing is to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Business wants no deal ruled out for March 29 as soon as possible. The boost to confidence and investment would be immediate. Without that happening, there will be a continuing drain on jobs and investment across the country."Ms Fairbairn said companies were deeply worried about government proposals for a post-Brexit immigration policy and called on ministers to reconsider the plan to halt most low-skilled EU migration and, in particular, the £30,000 salary threshold that determines what is considered low-skilled.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.