The Prime Minister’s speech at the Tory Party conference in Manchester has been heavily critised by business leaders and one labbeled his vision as “economically illiterate.”
Boris Johnson set out his vision on the last day of the conference that it will be a “difficult” process to reshape the economy.
The UK has severe labour shortages with supply chains in crisis, supermarkets have empty shelves and there has been queues at petrol stations, but Johnson defended his strategy.
Business leaders have slammed Johnson’s approach and warned that there will be higher inflation with soaring costs that will be passed on to consumers as there is a restriction on migration.
Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland and Leave voter, accused the government of treating businesses like an “endless sponge.”
Walker told the Times, “The finger is being pointed at business as the bogeyman, but it’s much wider than that.
“We want to pay our people as much as possible but business is not an endless sponge that can keep absorbing costs in one go.
“Next year we’ll have a wave of higher costs in one go. Next year we’ll have a wave of higher costs from higher energy bills, extra HGV drivers, packaging costs. We can only weather many cost increases at once, so they need to tape it.”
Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, told Times Radio, “Looking at this party conference season, there was one party of the two that came out with a pro small business policy.
“And I think, you know, the government should be looking at that and going: ‘Well, maybe we’ve taken this group a bit for granted.’
“So now, what is that small business offer? What is their response? And at the moment there isn’t much, so there needs to be a really strong response to the budget.”
Ryan Shorthouse, director of Bright Blue, told the Guardian newspaper, “The public will soon tire of Boris’s banter if the Government does not get a grip of mounting crises: price rises, tax rises, fuel shortages, labour shortages. There was nothing new in this speech, no inspiring new vision or policy.”
Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central Jo Gideon defended the government and told BBC Newsnight, “We’ve got a million job vacancies at the moment but we’ve got also unemployment.
“When we went into the pandemic, it was predicted that we would have more than two million more unemployed that we actually have so I mean it’s a success story of the furlough of the £400bn that was invested to keep people and businesses afloat.”
She added, “I am out there meeting businesses every day and I’m hearing two things: they are both enormously grateful for the support that they have from the government during the pandemic, and also very much looking forward to being part of this massive chunk of jobs where they have support, apprenticeships and kickstart schemes to take new people on.
“In my own constituency, there is a massive commitment for local businesses to support.”