Businesses call on Boris Johson to create fairer economy after Brexit

Ben Chapman

Businesses have called on the incoming prime minister to get Britain’s economy back on track, making it not only more prosperous but fairer and more inclusive, after three years of stalled progress.

The Confederation of British Industry published a “Business Manifesto” on Monday in which it urges either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt to secure a Brexit deal and implement a broader long-term vision for the economy that drives investment.

Companies have held off investing in new plants, research and equipment in recent months as uncertainty about the UK’s future has grown.

Mr Johnson, the favourite in the race to become Britain's new prime minister, has proposed cutting income tax for the wealthiest Britons and handing a stamp duty reduction for homeowners whose properties are worth more than half a million pounds.

Mr Hunt has pledged to cut corporation tax and boost defence spending as part of plans expected to cost up to £65bn. Both have said they are willing to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

“We urge the next Prime Minister to act fast to get the economy back on track,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI.

“That means no equivocation on essential national infrastructure, from HS2 to Heathrow. It means an immigration system that is controlled but also open and welcoming. And it means fixing policy that isn’t working, from business rates to the apprenticeship levy.”

She added: ““We need a long-term, compelling vision for our future. A path to building a Britain that is not only more prosperous, but fairer, grounded in the new Industrial Strategy.”

The £30,000 earnings threshold for migrants should be reduced to ensure companies have access to the staff they need, the CBI said.

It is also demanding a commitment to boosting research and development spending to 3 per cent of GDP from less than 2 per cent now, as well as a strategy for reaching net zero carbon emissions to be published by the end of the year.