Last month, we saw our lobbying efforts on Heathrow come to fruition with a strong show of Parliamentary support for a third runway. We backed the Transport Secretary’s leadership on this key vote, convening a successful reception in Parliament to highlight the unequivocal support of business. This was a great win for Let Britain Fly, which we initiated in 2013 to call for airport capacity expansion. But our work isn’t done yet – we’ll continue to make the case for existing capacity at London’s other airports.
The Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury spoke to over 150 business leaders and key stakeholders from across the UK at our Summer Business Lunch in Westminster Abbey. In conversation with the Today programme’s Justin Webb, Peter Dowd was clear that transport investment is “not mutually exclusive”. Labour would not block Crossrail 2, and the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury agreed that London and other core cities should not be pitted against one another. We met with him to discuss this and the recommendations of our Growing Together report with him further.
We’ve kicked July off by taking a number of our members into 10 Downing Street to speak to the Prime Minister’s industrial strategy, business engagement and skills special advisers, on the impacts Brexit is having on employers’ ability to recruit and retain staff. Our members repeatedly tell us that access to talent is the top concern for business post-Brexit, so we’ve brought a unified voice into No. 10 to reiterate our proposal for a migration system that meets employers’ needs, as well as to highlight our call for the government to get the apprenticeship levy working for everyone. The voice of business was powerful, speaking up with clear examples of how access to talent is affecting the delivery of key infrastructure, particularly the scale of housing needed.
We’re ramping up the urgency of our call for the apprenticeship levy to be fixed, and will be meeting with key Whitehall officials to make this case. We’ll also be working with stakeholders of all parties in Westminster to apply pressure on the government to act. We’re feeding into the BEIS Select Committee’s inquiry into automation and the future of work, and have fed into the Home Affairs Committee’s inquiry into post-Brexit immigration.
Next week, we look forward to bringing a number of Conservative MPs together with members building homes in London to discuss the key challenges holding the capital back from delivering the scale of housing its people desperately need. It’s vital that we get policymakers around the table with business leaders to agree on solutions, and we’ll continue to facilitate this dialogue.
Before Parliament rises for the summer, we’ll also be hosting Nicky Morgan, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, for a roundtable dinner with partner members. She has used her voice to stand up for a business-friendly Brexit, and we look forward to hearing her insights on the progress of negotiations and other key issues affecting our economy.
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