“The first part of the plan must be to get strong leadership in place as soon as possible”
CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, has laid out businesses’ priorities following the outcome of the EU referendum.
In an article for The Times, the head of the lobby group warned that business leaders want to work with the government to strengthen the economy.
On the outcome of the EU referendum, Fairbairn said:
“The British people have spoken in an explosive referendum result which will define the fortunes of the United Kingdom for generations to come.
“The impact cannot be underestimated and will take time to understand. Many people, including the UK’s thousands of businesses, are asking what this means for them and the people who depend on them. What we need is a plan.
“The government must act with urgency to minimize the uncertainties that affect investment decisions and slow job creation.”
On priorities for business post-EU referendum, Fairbairn said:
“The first part of the plan must be to get strong, calm and decisive leadership in place as soon as possible. Never has there been a more important time to put the interests of the country ahead of party politics. Businesses welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of a delay in triggering Article 50 to create breathing space, but need rapid clarity on who is making the decisions.
“Second, we must agree the principles that should underpin our new relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. At the highest level, the government should resolve publicly to preserve the openness of the UK’s economy, one of its greatest strengths.
“This means seeking to protect tariff and barrier-free access to the Single Market, ensuring companies are able to continue to attract the best people to the UK with the skills we need, while recognising public concerns about immigration. And, it means setting out clearly how the UK will agree the right international trade deals with the wider world.
“The third action we must take is to forge close and deep collaboration between business of all sizes across the UK and the government to help shape our future economic relationships. The CBI and business leaders across the UK stand ready to work with the new leaders of our country to help chart the future course, starting as soon as practically possible.”
On working with the government, Fairbairn said:
“Business Secretary Sajid Javid has communicated his intent to start this planning process with business and community leaders across the UK and we welcome this.
“There is one other action that needs to be taken immediately. The government should remove uncertainties over the long term right to stay in the UK for those already working here as soon as possible. We welcome the steps the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has taken to give this reassurance.
“No one pretends this transition will be easy or that the change will be pain free. But now is the time for businesses across Britain to come together in partnership with government and communities to turn the will of the British people into a new set of world relationships that benefit everyone.
“At the CBI, we will continue to work in the spirit of partnership to lead the voice of business in these vital decisions. We are committed to securing the best possible future for our country for generations to come.”