20 April 2017 09:00
Business groups react to news of a snap election
Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to call a snap election in June may have caught everyone unawares, but business groups have been quick to react.
A key concern for businesses is that election campaigning doesn't distract the Government from important matters in hand, including Brexit.
"Many business communities will understandably be concerned that attention will inevitably shift from the economy and the intricacies of leaving the EU to [the] election campaign," said Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). "Firms will want to be reassured that the key challenges facing the economy will be front and centre throughout any election period."
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, agreed:
"Distraction from the urgent priorities of seeking the best EU deal and improving UK productivity must be kept to a minimum."
She added: "It is essential to get the UK's foundations right, from building a skills base for the next generation to investing in infrastructure, energy and delivering a pro-enterprise tax environment. Whoever forms the next Government … should seek to build a partnership between business and Government that is the best in the world, based on trust and shared interest."
Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said the election would be a chance to
"properly debate what leaving the EU means for the long term future of the UK, including how we continue to bring in the skills employers need".
He said: "Businesses are having to get used to being buffeted by the changing winds of politics at the moment, and will just have to endure yet another campaign. While Brexit will inevitably dominate the campaign, there are also much wider questions that need to be addressed on the changing nature of business and work, automation and our ageing society … the business voice must be heard in this crucial discussion."
Many businesses are hoping that the election will provide more clarity on Brexit. David Jinks, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero, said:
"Uncertainty is the most difficult problem facing UK exporters. Whatever the result, we are likely to get a clearer idea of how Brexit will develop; and that's better for British business.
"A snap general election is likely to resolve many uncertainties facing UK exporters far more swiftly than long negotiations by a Government with a thin majority would have done. Whatever the colour of the party taking control after 8 June, British businesses will win from the snap election."