A prominent businessman has received cross-party support from MPs for a series proposals designed to provoke debate that would bridge the political divide following a challenge from the Prime Minister.
Carl Richardson, who together with his brothers runs the Richardson business from their Midlands headquarters, has written a three-part article after Boris Johnson told a major US magazine: “The world is moving faster, and therefore we have to… move faster with it.”
The call to action was part of an in-depth profile by Tom McTague that appeared in the July edition of the venerable American publication ‘The Atlantic’. It followed a passage where the Prime Minister vowed to “use the power of government to reinvigorate industry and boost growth outside London…ordering civil servants to be more creative and more confident around who we choose to back”. This, he added, would ensure that Britain was “nimble” in its thinking and approach in the years ahead.
In response to the article written to inspire debate - Saqib Bhatti, Conservative MP for Meriden who also supports Liz Truss in the Department for International Trade, said:
“I have always advocated for business being a force for good in our society.
“Business people like the Richardsons create jobs and opportunity and they have a wealth of strategic experience. There are some really interesting ideas here and certainly worthy of further debate.”
John Spellar, Labour MP for Warley, where the Richardson business is headquartered, said:
“These views should be considered seriously in Downing Street.
“The Richardson family are in a position to know at first-hand what sort of support business needs as the country recovers from the Covid pandemic, especially firms outside the City of London in Britain’s industrial heartland.
“My British Good Bill aims to place a ‘presumption in favour’ of purchasing goods of British origin is due for a second reading on December 10 and would fully support Carl’s ambitions to help British business thrive.”
The Private Members’ Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons just before the summer recess and is due for a second reading on December 10.
Carl added: “To be clear, we are apolitical advocates of free trade, but in a post-Brexit world where we supposedly have more control of our rules, it is baffling when you hear that none of the syringes used to give the 85 million doses of Covid vaccine that have been delivered to date in the UK have been made here.
“We are seeking a consensus across the political divide in the country and cross-party support in the House of Commons that puts the interests of British business at the forefront of policies.”
Key proposals included:
Look within and beyond Westminster when making Ministerial appointments, bringing leading business people into the Cabinet.
Earlier notification of trade missions so that businesses can plan for the absence of key personnel.
Keep Trade Ministers in their roles for the duration of a Parliament so they can become experts on their briefs.
Appoint a Minister for FAANGs (Facebook/Amazon/Apple/Netflix/Google), dedicated to drawing on the experience and expertise of these businesses, which would individually rank among the top 20 countries in the world by GDP.
Get better – and quicker – at celebrating British business champions and entrepreneurs and successes.
Press ahead with building a new national flagship yacht that will not be a vanity project but rather as a display of British self-belief.
Get behind the British Goods Bill – Introduced by John Spellar, MP for Warley, which aims to place a duty on public bodies to have a ‘presumption in favour’ of purchasing goods of British origin.
Introduce a different approach to regulating business.
Create tax incentives that would help to fuel growth of British businesses and create jobs in the years ahead.