Business leaders join PM’s new Business Council to turbocharge economic growth

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has launched a new initiative to unlock innovation and business growth across the UK, connecting leading CEOs as part of the country’s growth strategy.

A new business council has been appointed by the Prime Minister to report from the business frontlines as the Government continues to boost stability and growth in the UK economy.

Chief Executives from AstraZeneca, NatWest Group and BAE Systems are among the fourteen business leaders joining the council, alongside SSE, Google Deepmind, Sainsbury’s and Vodafone. Other companies represented on the council include GSK, Aviva, Shell, Sage, Taylor Wimpey, Diageo and Barclays.

These leaders are recognised as trusted experts in their respective fields and are in charge of some of the country’s biggest employers in strategically important industries for UK growth – from construction, life-sciences and tech to financial services and energy.

Together, they employ around 330,000 people across the country, with an even greater reach throughout their supply chain and a presence globally too.

Thanks to the Government’s plans, the UK economy is set to grow instead of fall into a recession and inflation is expected to substantially reduce by the end of the year.

Ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to do business, now and in the future, will be crucial to making continued progress on growing the economy.

The newly appointed Business Council will be a forum to bring a real-world perspective on how the current economic climate is impacting business and how government and industry can work together to boost investment and innovation, drive productivity and create highly skilled jobs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: The more businesses innovate and invest, the more we grow and create good jobs right across the country.

I look forward to hearing first-hand from business leaders about how we can break down the barriers they face and unlock new opportunities for them to thrive.

My new Business Council is one of the many ways we are making the UK the best place to do business and invest, so we can future-proof and grow our economy.

The Council will meet today in Downing Street, chaired by the Prime Minister. It will be followed by a reception for around 100 businesses to celebrate British enterprise.

The UK is open for business and an attractive place to invest, with a competitive business environment that stimulates growth. This is driven by policies like full-expensing – an effective corporation tax cut of £9 billion a year for UK businesses – and the lowest corporation tax in the G7, whilst reducing red-tape and investing billions in government funding such as in R&D. According to EY’s global attractiveness survey of CEOs, the UK is the most attractive investment destination in Europe.

Commenting on his appointment, BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn, said: “It’s more important than ever that government and industry work closely together and as one of the UK’s largest employers, playing a key role in supporting national security as well as economic prosperity, I’m looking forward to discussing how we can help drive growth and attract investment into the UK as part of the new Business Council.”

Commenting on the new initiative, Dave Chaplin, CEO of IR35 compliance firm IR35 Shield said: “I welcome the move by the Government to tap into some of the UK’s top business experts as they have first-hand experience of what is happening on the ground and can vocalise what our economy needs right now to compete on the global stage.

“However, the council does seem to be disproportionately represented by large corporates. I urge them not to forget the millions of small businesses contributing hugely to our economy.

“I would also urge them to focus on some of the business damaging policies that the Conservative Government has introduced, including the changes to IR35.

“When the Labour Party introduced the original measures in 2000, a primary concern was to minimise the impact on ordinary businesses, and they succeeded. But, the changes the Conservatives made in 2017 and 2021 when they introduced the punitive Off-payroll legislation have removed the promise made by the opposition and negatively impacted the lives of many contractors and firms that need them. Off-payroll has impeded flexible workers who can help deliver much-needed growth for the UK economy and UK plc. Glue has been poured on the vital, flexible workforce, which needs unsticking.”