LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday launched a new platform to bring together major UK companies, as a crisis engulfs the CBI, the nation’s top business lobby.
The so-called “Business Connect” platform will enable companies to engage directly with Sunak’s Conservative government, he told an audience of top business leaders in London.
The news comes as a small number of high-profile firms withdrew from the Confederation of British Industry on Friday after the business lobby was rocked by fresh rape allegations.
Business Connect will look to boost economic growth, Sunak insisted Monday before an audience of more than 200 high-profile chief executives and business leaders.
“We are going to keep engaging to make (Britain) the most pro-business pro-growth country in the world,” Sunak said in an address that was also broadcast on corporate social networking site LinkedIn.
Britain remains plagued by double-digit inflation that has sparked a cost-of-living crisis, prompting calls from many employers for the government to do more to stimulate economic output.
Monday’s event focused partly on growth sectors including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and technology, according to a Downing Street statement.
Sunak is also seeking to repair the Conservative party’s links with business after his short-lived predecessor Liz Truss sparked economic chaos with unfunded tax cuts last year.
“Business Connect provides the next fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how we are growing the economy,” added Sunak.
“We are bringing together some of the UK’s biggest companies and investors for meaningful dialogue – and I’m a prime minister passionate about working with business to unlock opportunity and progress.”
Monday’s conference comes as the business community reels from recent events at the CBI, which earlier this month sacked its director-general Tony Danker following allegations of misconduct.
Danker is not linked, however, to reports of two allegations of rape said to have involved CBI staff.
The CBI on Friday decided to suspend all activity until an extraordinary general meeting in June.