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One week on and I’m missing it. All that talk of the ‘better plan’, the ‘long-term economic plan’, ‘zero hours’ and ‘no-tax up to 30 hours’. ‘Brexit referendum’ and ‘exit poll’.

Those photo opportunities in factories, shops and offices. (Do they show politicians recognise businesses’ role as an employer? or are they hoping for an easier ride with the boss present than they might get from ‘real’ people elsewhere?)

“it had been going on forever but the election campaign was a thrilling and suspenseful ride ”

It did seem like it had been going on forever but the election campaign was a thrilling and suspenseful ride while it lasted. And, interestingly, one in which many of the topics that are at the heart of The Great Business Debate featured heavily.

We believe that what people read and hear about businesses and their direct experience as employees and customers determines their level of trust in business. That’s why the CBI’s Great Business Debate is addressing a lot of the same issues as the politicians.

How well are markets, such as energy, working for customers? Is there a place for legislating on price? Is stronger competition the answer?

Tax. Are businesses paying what they should? Does HMRC have the right powers and resources? Do we have the right Corporation Tax and Business Rates regimes?

How do we raise living standards? To what extent are increasing the minimum wage or pushing up tax thresholds the answer? How much is it about raising skill levels as a way of boosting productivity and individuals’ earning potential?

General Election 2015 Polling Day - May 7thLike everyone else, business people will have their personal views on the Conservative win but most will be relieved that there was a speedy and decisive outcome to the election and the uncertainty around a hung parliament didn’t materialise.

The clock’s now ticking on the new Government’s, much talked about, first 100 days (the CBI’s already set out businesses’ most-pressing priorities). We’ll be pushing for progress and watching closely.

But, I’ve been taking in even more phone-ins, interviews, letters columns and social media than usual, confirming what The Great Business Debate already knows — business is not held in universally high regard.

The business community, and we at the CBI, have more to do too.


Alex van Besouw is Campaign Manager for The Great Business Debate

 Alex talking in reception Feb 2015






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