CBI President urges MPs to listen to businesses in constituencies over Brexit

John Allan, CBI President, will urge politicians to speak to firms in their constituencies about the impact of Brexit following the publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement in his speech at the CBI’s Annual Conference.

Speaking before an assembled audience of more than 1,500 business leaders at the InterContinental O2 Hotel, Mr Allan will say ‘it’s not perfect, but we’re trying to reach a deal that respects the Referendum and minimises the damage to our economy’.

The CBI President’s speech will also list several examples of lost investment as a result of growing uncertainty owing to Brexit.

A senior Cabinet Minister will address company leaders on the morning of the Conference, with Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition speaking in the afternoon.

Speaking at the CBI Annual Conference, John Allan is expected to say: “We’re trying to reach a deal that respects the result of the Referendum and minimises damage to our economy.

“I know how hard it’s been to get to this point. In the 5 months I’ve been President of the CBI, the team and I have met ambassadors, MPs, MEPs, Heads of State.

“And I know this: every single one of them has had to compromise in reaching that deal. While companies in this room would be the first to say that it is not perfect, it does open a route to a long-term trade arrangement and unlocks transition – the very least that companies need to prepare for Brexit.

“And most importantly, it avoids the wrecking ball that would be a no-deal departure.

“Without a deal, Oxford Economics has said that in the short-term, our GDP would be lower by 2%. In the longer-term, by up to 8%, according to the IMF.

“And this turmoil is damaging our country now.

“In the past few days alone, I’ve heard of a life sciences firm in the North West that has cut almost all investment in the UK – putting it instead in Germany and China.

“I’ve heard a Northern Irish tech firm that has stopped winning contracts because their aerospace customers are worried about Brexit. And a construction firm says it now costs an extra £20,000 to build a house, due to a shortage of materials and labour since Brexit.

“These stories are repeated across the country.

“Eighty per cent of firms have already cut or postponed investment because of the risk of a no-deal exit.

“So our message to the politicians is this – listen to the businesses in your constituencies – and everyone who depends upon them.”