Party leaders have been pitching to business leaders at the CBI Annual Conference in London ahead of the upcoming general election on December 12.
The CBI Conference, held at the InterContinental London O2, is the UK’s biggest business conference, and this year comes two weeks into a general election campaign. Attended by business leaders from across the UK, the conference’s theme this year is ‘Tomorrow’s Business’, discussing topics including sustainability and preparing the next generation, in a time surrounded by economic and Brexit uncertainty.
President of the CBI, John Allen started the conference saying that we “cannot afford” another year like 2019, 2018 or 2017 and all the uncertainty it has brought for business.
Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson told the conference;
“We must clear this parliamentary blockage in this dynorod election”
He added that he thought the Brexit deal could be done in a matter of weeks if the Conservatives win the election, saying “Just add in hot water”. Away from Brexit, Mr Johnson declared he planned to keep corporation tax rates as they are indefinitely.
The Prime Minister was also told off for taking up too much time in his speech and faced multiple questions over the Prince Andrew scandal, which he refused to answer.
The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the conference for the third year in a row and said it was nonsense to suggest he was “anti-business”. In his speech, Mr Corbyn pledged a National Education Service telling conference delegates,
“You’re going to have the best educated workforce you could ever have hoped for, and you’re going to get the world-leading infrastructure, including full fibre broadband you’ve long, long-demanded, year after year at these conferences.”
Responding to questions about the nationalisation of BT and the introduction of free full fibre broadband, Mr Corbyn said it was something that businesses had long argued for.
The Labour leader also announced his party’s pledge for a climate apprenticeship programme which would train around 80,000 people a year. The apprenticeships would allow companies to compete and succeed in the green economy, according to the party.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson appeared to get the most nods and applause from business leaders. She outlined her plans for stopping Brexit and also said that the Lib Dems are the “party of business”.