Make tough choices on Brexit and immigration to drive growth, says CBI


End Brexit rows and use immigration to solve labor shortages to boost growth, the CBI chief told politicians on Monday.

In his address to the CBI’s 2022 annual conference in Birmingham, chief executive Tony Danker is set to hail some of the “incredibly welcome” announcements from last week’s autumn statement, while warning the UK needs to go further to resolve years of stagnant growth.

Senior politicians are expected to attend the trade body’s two-day conference, which comes just days after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled £25billion in tax hikes in a budget designed to restore confidence in the public. market in the UK after Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget.

The move from massive tax cuts to steep tax hikes has been criticized by some Tory backbenchers, sparking speculation of a rebellion by MPs over some of the measures.

With the UK already expected to be in recession, Mr Danker will tell the conference: “The painful reality of growth is that it cannot be boosted overnight. That’s what the mini budget got wrong.

“Tax cuts across the board. Immediate stimulus to demand. Relying on Britain’s old strength – consumption – at the expense of Britain’s perennial weakness – investment – has given growth a bad reputation.

Praising Mr Hunt for ‘staying the course’ on projects meant to generate growth, such as the HS2 rail and the new nuclear power station at Sizewell C, the CBI boss will also propose various solutions to the government to revive the economy in decline.

Highlighting the continuing “barriers” to growth, Mr Danker will call on politicians to be “hands on” when it comes to immigration.

“Let’s have economic migration to areas where we’re not going to attract people and skills to our country anytime soon. In return, let’s make those visas fixed-term.

He will also call for regulatory and red tape reform, telling the audience: “I know that some conservative politicians now feel that this issue is Europe’s fault. But the biggest regulatory hurdles facing businesses today are based on UK laws, created by a UK parliament and administered by UK regulators.

Mr Danker is also expected to raise concerns over Brexit, namely the unresolved row with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol.

“Boris Johnson has reached an agreement with the EU which allows us to continue to trade without tariffs or quotas with our largest trading partner. There are good things in this. Currently locked down.

“But, we are still arguing over Northern Ireland protocol. Yet we argue over sovereignty. Go around the table, make the deal, unlock the trade and cooperation agreement. I say to Brexiteers, the best guarantor of Brexit is a growing economy.

“His greatest risk is the one who does not do it.

“Now I know some of these things won’t be popular with politicians. But while I have no problem with the government making tough choices to bring stability, I want it to make tough choices for growth as well. ”


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