Business leaders press new PM to avoid no-deal

Business leaders cranked up the pressure on Britain's new prime minister on Monday as they called for a fresh impetus to post-Brexit efforts to boost the economy, including reforms to the immigration rules for foreign workers.

The calls from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the City of London came as a forecast from the respected think-tank, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) warned of the possibility of a "severe downturn" if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Boris Johnson, who is expected to assume the mantle of prime minister on Wednesday, has been adamant that he will go ahead with a no-deal Brexit on October 31 if he cannot get concessions from the European Union on the current withdrawal agreement.
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, repeated her own warning of the "seriously damaging" consequences of a no-deal as she called on the new prime minister to tackle the "stalled" progress on the economy that has resulted from Brexit.
 The CBI's business manifesto also proposed that the government's aim of reducing net annual migration to below 100,000 should be replaced target with a new system that ensures people coming to the UK are contributing to the economy and society.The business group also said the current £30,000 salary threshold for foreign workers should be reduced and that the Shortage Occupations List should be recast to exempt cases of national and regional skill and labour shortages. 
"The UK is a fantastic place to do business but we must be honest - the reputation of our country has taken a dent in recent times. Our new prime minister has a real chance to inject a new lease of life into the UK economy and show the world we are open for investment," said Ms Fairbairn.
"He should take a transformative approach to making the country more competitive, innovative and inclusive. We urge the next prime minister to act fast to get the economy back on track.
"That means no equivocation on essential national infrastructure, from HS2 to Heathrow, an immigration system that is controlled but also open and welcoming, and fixing policy that isn't working, from business rates to the apprenticeship levy."
Boris Johnson must rebuild trust with the City if he becomes the next prime minister on Wednesday, the political leader of the City of London has warned.
Meanwhile, Catherine McGuinness, who chairs the City of London Corporation's policy and resources committee, said that Mr Johnson would "have bridges to build with business" when he moves into Downing Street.
She said a no-deal Brexit would seriously damage the economy. "I am very concerned that the possibility of no deal is increasing, it looks more likely than not at the moment.
"I think warm words are not enough. We really are at a critical moment for our economy, for our country.
"We absolutely will try to be as positive as possible about what we can build on. We need to build on those strengths for the future and we're ready to do that with Boris but he needs to be practical and pragmatic."
The NIESR  analysis suggested there was a one in four chance that Brexit uncertainty might have already pushed the UK economy into a technical recession as it forecast that, even with an agreement to leave the EU, GDP growth would only be one per cent this year and next.In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the report said there could be a severe downturn with the economy stagnating, inflation accelerating to 4.1 per cent and the pound falling a further 10 per cent against the dollar."Some loosening of the public purse appears inevitable and we expect public sector borrowing to rise above two per cent of GDP, with the possibility of substantial over-runs of the government’s fiscal objectives in the event of a no-deal Brexit," added NIESR.Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.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 Directory