Businesses seek clarity after Tory election win

Business leaders called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to set about restoring confidence in the economy after his Conservative Party stormed to victory in the UK's general election.

Big Ben at the UK Houses of Parliament
Under the 'Get Brexit Done' slogan, the Tories won 364 of the 650 parliamentary seats, with the Labour Party losing seats across Britain and ending up with only 203.While companies were relieved Labour's renationalisation policies and plans to hike business taxes would not now happen, there remained concerns over Mr Johnson's pledge to introduce a points-based immigration system and fears over the ability of the government to reach a free trade deal with he EU27 by the end of the transition arrangement on December 31 2020.One person clearly pleased with the result was President Donald Trump who tweeted, "Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the EU. Celebrate Boris!"

CBI hails "clear mandate to govern"

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), also congratulated Mr Jonson and said the result gave the Conservatives "a clear mandate to govern" after three years of political gridlock.She said that businesses across the UK would now want to see Mr Johnson using his victory as an opportunity to rebuild confidence in the economy and break the cycle of uncertainty.Dame Carolyn added: “Employers share the prime minister’s optimism for the UK and are ready to play a leading role. They can bring the innovation, investment and jobs for a new era of inclusive growth. The biggest issues of our times – from tackling climate change to re-skilling the workforce for new technologies – can only be delivered through real partnership between government and business.“The starting point must be rebuilding business confidence, and early reassurance on Brexit will be vital. Firms will continue to do all they can to prepare for Brexit, but will want to know they won’t face another no deal cliff-edge next year. Pro-enterprise policies on immigration, infrastructure, innovation and skills, will help relaunch the UK on the world stage.“Despite recent challenges, the UK remains a great place to start and build a business. A new contract between enterprise and government can make the UK a global magnet for investment, powering higher productivity and living standards across the UK.”

Business leaders will focus on Brexit

Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said that in the coming days, companies would want to see that the government was "clear-sighted about the challenges facing businesses".He said, “Business leaders’ thoughts will immediately be turning to Brexit. For directors, ‘Get Brexit Done’ will only have meaning once the details of our long-term future relationship with the EU are clear. They need a framework to plan for the future.“On the domestic front, we must now see progress on the challenges that have been holding the economy back, from skills to infrastructure. Many directors will be waiting for action on manifesto commitments such as incentives for R&D investment and business rates reform. Meanwhile, there are still big question marks around the Conservatives’ plans on immigration and big-ticket infrastructure projects.”

BCC: Prime Minister needs to fire up the economy

Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), called on Mr Johnson to make his first priority restoring confidence among businesses, investors and consumers by "firing up" the economy.He, too, echoed concerns over post-Brexit arrangements. "Our business communities need to see swift, decisive action to avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the EU and to tackle the barriers holding back investment and growth here in the UK," he said.Among the BCC's priorities for the new government were improvements to transport infrastructure, greater investment in the UK's skills base, a rapid reform of business rates and "delivering a sensible immigration system that gives firms access to essential overseas talent at all levels".

Conservative victory and a January Brexit

Miles Celic, chief executive of the lobby group TheCityUK, said the Conservatives' clear victory should allow the country to finally turn the page on the first phase of Brexit.“With the path to a January Brexit now clear, both sides must move quickly to prepare for the next stage of the negotiations," he said."The first phase has been dominated by the impact on goods. This has neglected the 80 per cent of the UK economy made up of Britain’s world leading services industries."Ministers should seek to rectify this, consult widely, and focus their efforts on how the UK’s global leadership in services industries like ours can be sustained and enhanced over the course of this parliament.”

London businesses: no to "no-deal" Brexit

Peter Bishop, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, said, "Businesses will be grateful that the election has delivered a clear result. The uncertainty caused by previous parliamentary deadlock had significant economic and business confidence impacts."The majority of London businesses now want the avoidance of a no-deal Brexit."Financial services bosses were clearly pleased with the result, although many questions remain over the sector's post-Brexit arrangements with the EU.

UK economy: election bounce predicted

Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group, said, "Christmas has come early for the pound, economy and UK financial assets. With more political certainty due to the large majority, the UK economy is also likely to receive an election bounce. "Billions of pounds in business investment that has been on the sidelines due to the parliamentary paralysis is now ready to be unleashed. This will give a much-needed boost the slowing British economy."Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses chairman, said SME owners would be hoping the election result would bring stability back to the economy."After more than three years of Brexit absorbing government bandwidth, the Conservative Party has pledged to tackle the many domestic challenges that have been neglected during that time," he said.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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