Prime Minister Theresa May will put forward an “unashamedly pro-business” agenda in her first important business speech to the CBI annual conference on Monday, the Financial Times reports. Mrs May will pledge billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure, science and research, signalling a change in her previously antagonistic rhetoric against businesses. Her speech will herald Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, which postpones a fiscal surplus until the early 2020s and focuses on attracting short-term investment.
Business leaders have complained that Mrs May and her Government routinely dismiss their warnings about the danger of a ‘hard Brexit’, and concerns about her strained relations with the chancellor have also arisen. Speaking to the FT, Mrs May’s team rejected reports of tension between the two, saying that the similarity in rhetoric between her Monday speech and the Autumn statement is indicative of cooperation. However, the team says there will be no “massive giveaways” in the Autumn Statement.
In her speech to the CBI, Mrs May will also laud the “independent Bank of England” in supporting the economy and publicly declare her support for governor Mark Carney. This follows weeks of tensions between Mrs May and the BoE, and her criticism of the BoE’s loose monetary policy in her Tory conference speech. She will also call for cooperation in reforming capitalism, globalisation and free trade, addressing the working-class concerns that led to the Brexit vote.