Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Regional and media/tech sector business leaders respond to Liz Truss’ announcement as next PM

Liz Truss

Business leaders from the north and the media and tech sectors have been reacting to the news that Liz Truss has won the vote of Conservative Party members to be the UK’s next Prime minister.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce policy and campaigns director Chris Fletcher urged Truss to act on the ongoing cost of living crisis, and asked the incoming PM not to rule anything out when it comes to assisting households and businesses.

Fletcher said: “It is highly unlikely that any new incoming PM has faced such a bigger challenge on day one than the current cost of living/doing business crisis. It is vital that, after weeks of dither and inactivity, Ms Truss takes immediate decisive action to help people and businesses right across the country. There are a variety of options available from VAT cuts on energy, specialist price tariffs, grants or more drastic intervention along the scale and lines we saw during the pandemic. The seriousness of the situation cannot be underestimated and nothing should be ruled out at this stage.”

John McCabe, chief executive of the North East of England Chamber of Commerce echoed Fletcher’s plea: “At the start of her campaign, we urged Ms Truss to look at the cost of living and the cost of doing business as two sides of the same coin. The need for investment in skills, transport and public services has not gone away, all of which can be delivered through devolution and more action on Levelling Up. But unsustainable energy price rises and bills, combined with staff shortages and inflationary pressures are putting the gains made by North East business at risk as they recover from the pandemic. We invite Ms Truss and her new team to work with us to maintain business and consumer confidence, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Jessica Bowles, director of strategy at regional property and tech big hitter Bruntwood, shared McCabe’s desire for the government to commit to further devolution of power and decision making to the North: “We need to continue to devolve power away from the centre. This is not just giving more levers to our metro mayors, but bringing government closer to our regions. Even after a successive focus on regional rebalancing over the past 12 years – first by supporting initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine and more latterly through Levelling Up – the number of civil service jobs has grown in London but declined elsewhere.”

Voicing the concerns of the advertising industry, Paul Bainsfair, director general of the national body the Institute of Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) was keen to bring the economic value of his members’ work to the new PM’s attention: “At this time of economic uncertainty and as we face a cost of living crisis, we ask that she recognises the economic and other benefits that the ad industry brings to the UK. Every £1 spent on advertising generates £6 to the country’s economy, advertising enables brand competition and it offers consumers more choice in how they shop and enjoy the arts, sport and culture.”

Bainsfair was also at pains to urge Truss to take another look at unpopular recent regulatory changes: “We also ask that she will protect our widely respected, self-funded, and world-leading self-regulatory system, and ensure that it is supported rather than undermined. The Online Advertising Programme, introduced by the previous Conservative Government, poses an unwelcome and unnecessary threat to the system, as does its introduction of HFSS ad bans through the Health and Care Act when the existing advertising rules in the CAP and BCAP Codes are already among the toughest in the world.”

Truss was the long-standing favourite to win the ballot of party members, even though her rival Rishi Sunak had previously won a majority of parliamentary support. She was officially declared the winner on Monday afternoon, polling 81,326 votes from the Tory membership compared to Sunak’s 60,399.

Truss will now travel to Balmoral tomorrow, where the queen will ask her to form a new government and Boris Johnson will finally step down following weeks of what many observers have described as “paralysis” at government level in the middle of one of the most challenging economic periods in recent memory.

Related News