Rishi Sunak renews promise to champion needs of business

Rishi Sunak renews promise to champion needs of business

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has renewed a promise to champion the needs of business and industry as the country “Builds Back Better” from the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter alongside his Cabinet colleague, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the Cabinet minister followed up his mega Budget Speech earlier this month with a further pledge on the government’s Plan for Growth.

The letter sets out the key pillars of investment that the government will focus on as it looks to recover from the pandemic, create jobs and drive forward key government priorities.

It comes ahead of the second meeting this week of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Build Back Better Business Council, which will be one of the ways that the government engages with business to drive forward the Plan for Growth.

The letter reads: “The government is, and will continue to be, a champion of the needs of business and industry as we build back better from the pandemic. We will work closely and collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure that our plans address challenges faced by business and grasp opportunities for future growth.

“That is why we have convened the Build Back Better Business Council, to draw on the expertise of industry and government to ensure that the plan for growth is delivered successfully, and in partnership with business.”

The three pillars of investment – infrastructure, skills and innovation – have been laid out as:

  1. Investing in infrastructure drives long term productivity improvements, and in the short term stimulates economic activity. The UK has historically under-invested in infrastructure, but we are fixing that, as set out in our National Infrastructure Strategy. The government has already announced record investment in broadband, flood defences, roads, rail and cities as part of our plans to spend £100 billion on capital next year and more than £600 billion on gross public sector investment over the next 5 years.

  1. The best way to improve people’s life chances is to give them the skills to succeed. The UK has a strong foundation of advanced skills, but lags behind international comparators on technical and basic adult skills. The government is transforming Further Education, encouraging lifelong learning through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, and building an apprenticeships revolution.

  1. Innovation drives economic growth and creates jobs. The UK has a world-leading research base, which will be boosted by the government’s significant uplift in R&D investment and the creation of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency to fund high-risk, high-reward research. However, too few businesses are able to access the tools they need to translate new ideas into new products and services and to challenge established businesses. We will make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. That means having access to capital, skills and ideas, as well as a smart and stable regulatory framework.

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