Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech at Conservative Party Conference, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“The Prime Minister was absolutely right to swear by businesses, rather than at them. It’s no secret that many business leaders have felt politically snubbed in the past few months. Companies are still creating jobs and driving prosperity in the face of many challenges. Taking the risk of starting a business is a praiseworthy endeavour, so it was reassuring to hear May deliver a speech that pinned principles of free markets and enterprise to its mast.
“But firms will inevitably ask, where are the big-ticket, tangible items that will enable them to cut through the political fog? Business leaders will hope Theresa May is teeing up the Chancellor to drive the ball down the fairway at the Budget with positive changes. Leaving Brexit aside, we know that the UK has been struggling with productivity for the last few years, so we need to see support for small companies in particular to adopt new technologies and improve skills.
“It was positive to hear the Prime Minister explain her Brexit proposals in clear terms today. Businesses rely on frictionless trade that can’t be easily replaced through a simple free trade agreement. Our members selling goods will welcome that May recognised this inescapable fact in her speech, and that it is reflected in the Government's negotiating approach.
“However, many businesses still feel unprepared for a no-deal outcome that could be just months away. Ingenuity is not enough to see them through – we need an adjustment period no matter how we leave to make Brexit in any form a success.”