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Opinion: Two contenders for PM seem sadly out of touch with businesses



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Sponsored feature | Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID, considers the battle for No 10.

It should seem incredible that the two remaining contenders to be Prime Minister are out of touch with what businesses want but sadly it is not.

There seems to be no discussion at all about what employers need at this time and quite frankly it is not inflationary personal tax cuts. Businesses need to see a stable future that allows them to make investments, they need support and, where appropriate, tax relief on these investments.

Rishi Sunak visits Sawston on July 27, 2022, during his bid to become the next Prime Minister. Picture: Simon Walker
Rishi Sunak visits Sawston on July 27, 2022, during his bid to become the next Prime Minister. Picture: Simon Walker

Almost all sectors of the economy are struggling to hire - airports, airlines, the whole hospitality and service economy, freight and distribution companies and the care sector.

It is encouraging that unemployment is so low, that employment is high and wages are rising, but while we seek to ‘grow our own’ into these sectors this will take a few years and the immediate issue is we simply need to let more workers in or large parts of the economy will continue below capacity and productivity will not improve.

Foreign secretary and Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss. Picture: PA/Aaron Chown
Foreign secretary and Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss. Picture: PA/Aaron Chown

Fuel costs are another burden. Wholesale gas prices have risen again this week and are now five times what they were a year ago. With Russia further restricting supply then they are only likely to increase as we head into the autumn and the increased demand of the winter. Wages are also rising, along with raw materials, so there is little good news on costs for businesses.

Some of these factors are outside the gift of government and I do support to a large extent that most of the time market forces will control these issues and they will settle.

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However, the sheer range of current headwinds for businesses and the fact many of them are quite macroeconomic and outside of their individual control results in businesses seeking more central intervention and support.

The airwaves are going to be full for the next few weeks of promises to change, of calls for a new future, a fresh start and other straplines.

What businesses need is some surety of the future, a plan they can see being delivered and some hope they will be listened to, after all, business will be at the heart of any recovery.



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