LONDON — British businesses have labelled the government “weak on action” following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s speech at the Conservative Party conference.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents more than 190,000 businesses, said that “now is not the time for half measures” in a statement on Monday responding to the Chancellor’s speech.
Director-general Carolyn Fairbarn said: “The speech shows a government strong on diagnosis, but weak on action. Businesses looking for clear vision and urgent delivery have been left with slim pickings.”
Hammond used his keynote speech to attack Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and its criticism of capitalism, saying Conservatives “must not be afraid to defend” the free market.
Speaking at the Tory conference on Monday, Hammond said Labour’s proposals were a “resolutely-negative agenda of failed ideas, dredged up from a bygone era.”
Fairbarn called the speech “necessary, but not sufficient,” adding: “The UK is facing a generation defining-challenge. A potent cocktail of Brexit uncertainty and dogma-driven politics on both left and right threatens jobs, investment and living standards. Now is not the time for half measures.”
She continued: “It is time for honesty about the challenges we face. Our economy is under threat — it has moved from the top of the G7 to the bottom. Faltering consumer and business confidence risks lowering living standards. Rising inflation is putting pressure on households.
“The solution must be for responsible business and government to grow our way out of austerity. But this can only happen with clarity, unity and action. Today’s speech was only one step in that direction.”
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