The CBI has responded to a speech given by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, at the Conservative Party Conference.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“With the clock now ticking on an EU exit, it’s good to see the Government set out the right chapter headings on how to boost confidence in our economy.

"We must now hear more on how government will work with business to build an inclusive, long-term industrial strategy. The Autumn Statement must move us several steps on to drive future investment and innovation across the country.

“The Government is right to adopt a more flexible approach to fiscal policy at this point, but it remains essential that public finances are sustainable over the economic cycle.

On a new EU relationship

“The potential shortfall from a loss of EU funding has been a grave concern for many UK universities and businesses, so the news that the Government is extending its commitment to meet those funds will bring some relief.

“But the core challenge still remains: to get the best deal for the UK and keep the economy on track, the Government needs to set out a roadmap of engagement with businesses to truly understand the needs and concerns of businesses on the ground.

philip-hammond-by-fc-cc-by-2-0

Philip Hammond by FCO (CC-by-2.0)

On housing

“The Chancellor is absolutely right in his desire to tackle head on the shortage of homes in Britain, with a welcome focus on unlocking brownfield sites and surplus public sector land.

“Housing is a critical social issue and underpins regional productivity. We have a mountain to climb on this front if we are to reach our targets and continued determined action will be needed.

“The market requires a mix of players and it’s right that smaller firms are supported in building the homes Britain needs, as many have struggled to recover since the last recession.

“A vibrant and healthy housing market will help young people get on and move up the ladder, but also mean employees can live closer to their workplaces.

“It will be equally important to build the right kind of homes, by looking not only to homeownership but also the private rental sector and affordable housing.

On an extra £220 million support for tech innovation

“Making the transition from ground-breaking research to world-class products can be a real jump for some, so raising investment in how we achieve that will make that gap look a little smaller.

On the National Infrastructure Commission

“It’s great to hear the Government reiterate its backing for the National Infrastructure Commission. It must be positioned as truly independent if the UK is to deliver a 21st century infrastructure throughout the country."

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