9 June 2017

News that the general election has resulted in a hung parliament has dismayed business leaders with the CBI setting the tone of the response by calling for politicians to get their house in order.

Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said that it was time to put the interests of the country first and show the world that the UK remains a safe destination for business.

"It's time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda," she said.

For the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Director General Dr Adam Marshall focused on the impact of the result on the Brexit talks which are scheduled to begin in less than a fortnight.

"No business would walk into a negotiation without clear objectives, an agreed starting position, and a strong negotiating team," he suggested. "It is hard to see how Brexit negotiations could begin without answers on these important questions."

His counterpart at the Institute of Directors (IoD), Stephen Martin, warned that businesses have been thrown into political limbo.

"If the Conservatives govern as a minority," he said, "they must recognise that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full. Now is the time to move on from the rhetoric of the election campaign and focus on preparing for Brexit talks."

National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, went further and called for the Brexit talks to be postponed. Negotiations should be led by a Government and a Prime Minister that will be in place for the duration, he stressed.

It is time to put industry first and ensure business receives as much support and backing as possible, Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said.

"The Brexit negotiating strategy requires a careful rethink," he continued. "Industry should be at the table, alongside whatever administration is formed, to help ensure we have the right negotiating position, which is something that's been sadly lacking until now."