Crunch week for CBI as Chambers poised to take lead as voice for business
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) faces a vote by members tomorrow (Tuesday) on its future structure and viability.
The business lobby group has been in almost total lockdown since its previous Director General Tony Danker was sacked and an internal review was initiated.
Now the ‘voice of business’ has been hit by a threat from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which has announced a new Business Council, comprised of prominent UK business leaders, to “design and drive the future of the British economy”.
The founding partners will be uniquely placed to shape the BCC’s policy and influencing, with the Council forming part of the organisation’s new national offer to businesses.
Heathrow, Drax, IHG Hotels & Resorts and BP have joined the Council as the first founding partners.
BCC Director General Shevaun Haviland and BCC President Baroness Martha Lane Fox will join a wider group of business leaders at a roundtable meeting in central London this afternoon (Monday 5th June) to discuss the Council and the BCC’s new national offer.
Shevaun Haviland, Director General, BCC, said: “Over the past few months, working closely with the Chamber Network, we have been talking to the nation’s largest corporates and it has become clear to us that they are looking for a different kind of representation.
“These businesses want to be part of a framework that’s rooted in their local communities, but with the ability to shape the national and international debate.
“In response we have developed a new offer, the Business Council. I’m delighted to have Heathrow, Drax, IHG and BP join us as the first founding partners and look forward to speaking with potential members this afternoon at our roundtable event.
“The Council is a long-term project and will bring together leaders from across UK industry to consider the key policy issues faced by British businesses, and work on Future of the Economy initiative, convened by our President, Baroness Martha Lane Fox. This initiative will focus on five challenges: Digital Revolution, People and Work, Net Zero, Global Britain and the High Street.
“These challenges will form the backdrop to the next general election, which we know will come before the end of next year, and which everyone in Westminster is already gearing up for. The voice of business needs to be heard loud and clear, and now is the right time for us to speak up.”
John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow, said: “Over the last 10 years we have established a strong relationship with the British Chambers of Commerce and are delighted to be taking our partnership to the next level by joining their new Business Council as a proud founding member.
“As the UK’s only hub airport and largest port by value, we play a key role in facilitating trade and tourism, boosting UK exports, and connecting nations and regions to the rest of the world.
“We want to continue growth in these areas and the Council will give us the opportunity to join fellow business leaders in identifying trends and challenges facing business and industry, ultimately shaping the BCC’s policy work and putting the right processes in place to drive change, alongside our longstanding partners.”
Ross McKenzie, Interim Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Drax, said: “We are proud of our long-standing and successful relationship with the British Chambers of Commerce. Joining their newly formed Business Council as a founding member is the next step in our journey with the organisation.
“We look forward to working with the BCC and other leading businesses through the Council to help tackle some of the key challenges facing the UK. This includes ensuring that the country has the right policies in place to deliver its Net Zero commitments.”
Yasmin Diamond, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are delighted to be working with the BCC as a founding member of the Business Council, which provides a new way to participate in the national policy debate and to discuss future challenges and opportunities for the UK economy.
“The BCC’s Global Business Network will also enable us to connect with more than 75 markets around the world – an invaluable asset to our global organisation.”
Louise Kingham, Head of Country UK & SVP Europe, BP, said: “BP is an active and long-standing member of both local and international chambers affiliated to the BCC. The UK needs to retain its international competitiveness and it is essential that the voice of business is heard. We are therefore delighted to become a founding partner of the BCC’s new Business Council.”