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Now for the hard work! Industry’s message to new PM Johnson

Incoming prime minister Boris Johnson needs to get to work straightaway and avoid a no-deal Brexit, according to industry leaders.

Rick Stainton, founder and group executive director, Smyle, told M&IT: “We now need to fully support the new PM, given the divisive and low state of behaviour across the Commons recently, so as to enable the UK to as one tackle the clear and immediate challenges it faces both domestically and with foreign policy.

“Humour and confidently stated anecdotes may have won the day, but hard work, detail and diplomacy is now needed to enable us to successfully deal with Brexit, Iran, trade relations as well as giving government a clear path and the resources it has been missing and now so urgently needs to deal with pressing internal issues including housing and the NHS.

“The saving grace for our industry is he is potentially one of the very few who understands a live event for what it is and the industry that delivers them around the world, from his involvement in the Olympic preparations and his position as Mayor of London. Historically the majority of key ministers may only have experienced a party conference as their benchmark for our industry and that is totally unrepresentative of our 21st century approach to live comms and content.”

UKinbound chief executive officer Joss Croft said: “Last month’s announcement that our industry has been awarded a Sector Deal was a big win for tourism. We’re eager to begin working with the new Government and our industry partners to develop and implement this new strategy, which is underpinned by our tolerant, open and welcoming culture that Britain is renowned for globally.

“The next few months are a critical time for the UK and we urge the new prime minister to secure a consensus in parliament and with the EU to avoid a no deal scenario, which could be very damaging for the tourism industry.”

Chris Fletcher, director of campaigns and marketing at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “We congratulate Boris Johnson on his appointment as the new leader of the Conservative party and the country’s new prime minister.

“Now is definitely not the time though for a self-congratulatory lap of honour, we expect him to get straight down to business, appointing a new cabinet, make realistic and deliverable plans to reverse years of domestic economic neglect for our business community and work towards a satisfactory outcome for Brexit.

And he added that Brexit will not be the only issue in the new prime minister’s in-tray.

“Whilst all eyes in Westminster have been on Brexit these last few years, the cost to our domestic economy has been great. Our members on a daily basis still tell us about skills issues, poor transport infrastructure and the ever increasing burden of up-front taxes such as business rates. All of which have got worse over the last few years.

“The very real danger is that even with a good Brexit deal the domestic economy has been neglected for so long that businesses will continue to struggle to take advantage of any new opportunities.

“A modern, successful 21st century global economy needs reliable and effective infrastructure built for the future – not a continuation of “make do and mend”. It has to have an effective, responsive and stable skills system in place free of the constant tinkering that does so much damage and it must also be based on strong social values and a broader understanding of “good” business too. Here in Greater Manchester we also want to have genuine devolved powers and decision making free from Whitehall intervention, not some form of half-way house which just creates problems and delays.

“The PM has a short timescale to deliver the necessary progress that business needs and will be judged harshly if this is not achieved irrespective of what may happen as regards Brexit.”