Businesses demand Brexit support from new government

Helping businesses prepare for Brexit must be a government priority after the general election, according to a survey of UK business leaders.

A poll of more than 1,000 members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has revealed Brexit support is their key consideration with the election looming on Thursday.

Support on skills development and investment incentives also emerged as strong demands from the business world, along with infrastructure investment such as broadband enhancement, road improvements and an increase in renewable energy generation.

A majority of IoD respondents supported an increase in public spending – but only a small increase, with most believing that nationalising various utilities and industries would lead to negative results in terms of reliability, cost and investment.

Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the IoD, said: “By and large, directors agree that the economy needs a shot in the arm, particularly with many firms facing the prospect of Brexit upheaval.

“Companies have been calling out for infrastructure improvements across the country for a long time, and they will be pleased that this is one area where all the parties appear to agree on the need to raise our game.

Edwin Morgan, of the IoD.

Edwin Morgan, of the IoD.

“Broadband, upgrades to transport networks and renewable energy generation are all backed by a majority of our members.

“There is an important note of caution from this survey, however. Of the three-quarters of directors who want to see a spending increase, most want this to be slight rather than significant, so the next government will still have to focus on value for money.

“The next government must work with the private sector to protect and boost the economy.

“Business leaders are as frustrated as anyone by slow broadband and cancelled trains, but taking whole sectors under state control would consume huge amounts of government time and effort while offering no guarantee of improvements.

“There are more pressing priorities, particularly in pursuing realistic goals and adequate support for business on Brexit, as well as action on the crucial areas of skill and investment.”