Belfast Telegraph

Time to put economy back at top of agenda - CBI chief

Business leaders have called on politicians to reassure the markets and protect the economy.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said politicians should now "get their house in order" and form a functioning government.

"Politicians must act responsibly, putting the interests of the country first and showing the world that the UK remains a safe destination for business. It's time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda.

"For the next Government, the need and opportunity to deliver an open, competitive and fair post-Brexit economy that works for everyone across all our nations and regions has never been more important.

"This can only be achieved if the next government doesn't put the brakes on business, remains open to the world and sets out a pro-enterprise vision.

"Firms will support the UK to develop our inclusive, innovative and open economy."

The new government must work with business to make the most of the opportunities ahead, she said.

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The electorate's split decision generates further uncertainty for business communities, who are already grappling with currency fluctuations, rising costs, and the potential impacts of Brexit.

"The formation of a workable administration that can give voters and businesses confidence around economic management must be the immediate priority.

"Whilst companies have for many months done their best to screen out political noise in order to focus on their own operations, this result will prove much harder for UK businesses to ignore.

"The swift formation of a functioning government is essential to business confidence and our wider economic prospects."

Stephen Martin, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said businesses have been thrown into "political limbo."

"With crucial Brexit negotiations coming up fast, in addition to the significant domestic challenges we face, the lack of a government with a majority undeniably creates uncertainty," he said.

"The pound has predictably fallen on the news of a hung parliament, but the majority of British business will be waiting to see whether a stable government can be formed in short order.

"If the Conservatives govern as a minority, they must recognise that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full.

"Now is the time to move on from the rhetoric of the election campaign and focus on preparing for Brexit talks."

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said politicians must put industry first and ensure business receives as much support as possible.

He said: "The Brexit negotiating strategy requires a careful rethink.

"Industry should be at the table, alongside whatever administration is formed, to help ensure we have the right negotiating position, which is something that's been sadly lacking until now."

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