Brexit turmoil hindered investment in the UK, minister concedes


Brexit and the ensuing political turmoil under the Conservative Party has hindered efforts to attract investment to the UK, a minister has admitted.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride conceded that creating “frictions” between Britain and the European Union will have had an impact.

His comments came after Paul Drechsler, the chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce UK, said Labour is now winning the argument on business.

Mr Drechsler, who was previously skills adviser to former Conservative prime minister David Cameron, blamed Brexit and the unsettled political atmosphere afterwards for reducing the willingness of firms to invest in Britain.

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The former head of the Confederation of British Industry also blamed former prime minister Boris Johnson’s threats to breach international law over Brexit and his unlawful prorogation of parliament as issues which have scared businesses away from the UK.

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Asked about Mr Drechsler’s remarks, Mr Stride told the BBC’s The World At One programme: “I think if you have a situation where you create frictions between yourself and your major trading partners, I think you have to accept that that will have an impact.”

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Mr Stride, who voted to Remain in the 2016 referendum, conceded it was “taking a bit of time” to benefit from the business opportunities from Brexit, but added: “They are coming through – you can see them coming through.

“We’ve moved on now and I accept that and I cannot argue now that there are not major opportunities, what we need to do now is get out there and capitalise on them and that’s what we’re determined to do.”

His comments also come amid concerns from prominent Brexiteers about a “secret” summit attended by Cabinet minister Michael Gove seeking to address the challenges of Brexit.

Number 10 suggested Rishi Sunak did not know in advance that Mr Gove would be attending, adding that the PM is focused on the benefits of Brexit.

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The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Britain will be the only G7 nation – including Russia – to see its economy shrink in 2023.

While Bank of England policymaker Jonathan Haskel has said that Brexit caused investment in UK businesses to plateau and dealt a productivity penalty worth £29bn.

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