Business and political leaders offer cautious but hopeful welcome to new PM Rishi Sunak

Tue 25 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Downing Street - Business and world leaders react to Rishi

Rishi Sunak’s prime ministership has been greeted with a guarded welcome by a business community hoping the former chancellor can bring stability to the UK economy.

Sunak was formally offered the role of prime minister by HM King Charles today (25 October), having won the Conservative Party election contest after his competitors withdrew from the race.

Speaking outside Downing Street, he said:

“I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come.

“This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. Trust is earned and I will earn yours.

“I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future, to put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party. Together, we can achieve incredible things. We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow and every day thereafter with hope.”

Prioritise business and exporting

The IOE&IT’s director general Marco Forgione yesterday urged the new PM to deliver certainty and coherence “to secure long-term, sustainable and competitive trade policies”.

With the country facing 40-year record high inflation and a declining number of businesses exporting, Forgione said it was important to “swiftly prioritise business support and provide clarity on the economic programme of this government going forward”.

Business wishes

CBI chief Tony Danker called on Sunak to avoid the “doom loop” of tax rises and cuts to the public sector, but said he should not entirely junk Truss’s ideas about economic growth, reports the Independent.

“Let’s remember, the 2010s began with some austerity and were then ensued with very low growth, zero productivity and low investment, right? It wasn’t a successful strategy for growth,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The FT quotes Kate Nicholls, CEO of trade group UK Hospitality, as saying she hoped the new PM would “end the period of turbulence” over the past few weeks.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, urged the Richmond MP to be a “steady hand on the tiller”, including fully costed plans to deal with soaring energy bills, labour shortages, inflation and climbing interest rates.

Global welcome

World leaders have been congratulating Sunak on becoming PM, including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, French president Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Other politicians sending their congratulations included Indian PM Narendra Modi, Dutch leader Mark Rutte and Irish taoiseach Micheál Martin, reports the Guardian.

The BBC reports that Northern Ireland’s politicians joined in welcoming the new PM to his post as they face a decision on whether there will be new elections to Stormont due to a breakdown in power sharing prompted by the DUP’s opposition to the NI protocol.