May promises 'unashamedly' pro-business gov't post-Brexit

May promises 'unashamedly' pro-business gov't post-Brexit

The UK Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged her government will be "unequivocally and unashamedly" pro-business as Britain approaches the complicated process of withdrawing from the European Union (EU). 

Speaking to an assembled audience of business leaders on Monday night (16 November) at the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet at the Guildhall in London, May said that the government plans were to make the UK the "most attractive place" for businesses to "invest and grow".

However, she did address a growing dissent within the business sector indicating that many business titans had already "voiced their suspicion" of what they saw as an "anti-business agenda".

Article continues after advert

She told the room that she didn't agree and that maintaining a strong business sector was "fundamental to retaining faith in "capitalism and free markets". 

The Prime Minister - who was an EU remain campaigner - argued Britain was not "stepping back from the world" as a result of its proposed departure from the European Union", but would be "an example of how a free, flexible, ambitious country can step up to a new global role". 

She said alongside the "traditional" trading blocs "agile" nation states like Britain could now trade freely with others according to what's in their own best interests and those of the people.

Following the vote for Brexit, May predicted that Britain could "show the way forward again". The Prime Minister said that after the UK leaves the EU, slated for March next year, it would "use the strength and size" of [its] economy to "lead the way in getting out into the world and doing new business with old allies and new partners alike". 

Calling for optimism, May said that Britain would "use the freedoms that come from negotiating with partners directly, to be flexible, to set our own rules and forge new and dynamic trading agreements that work for the whole UK".

She also warned that for Britain it was not a choice between "hard Brexit and soft Brexit" it would be about how business and government works together to get "the right deal for Britain and the right deal for businesses across the continent". 

Reflecting on Britain's 52 per cent majority vote to cease to be an EU member state she said that those MPs under her charge would "have to act" to ensure that the prosperity delivered by free trade and free markets was "shared by all".  

Concluding her speech, she nodded toward the thorny subject of boardroom behaviour and tax avoidance issue from major corporations, chiding the business sector for letting a "minority" of businesses and "business figures" within its ranks "game the system, and work to a different set of rules". 

She identified that that is where "the social contract between business and society fails - and the reputation of business as a whole is undermined".