General election result: The IoD response

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Theresa May following the general election

Following the result of the general election, Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, says business has been thrown into political limbo

Businesses have shown in the last year that they are resilient to surprise results, but they have now been thrown into political limbo. With crucial Brexit negotiations coming up fast, in addition to the significant domestic challenges we face, the lack of a government with a majority undeniably creates uncertainty.

The pound has predictably fallen on the news of a hung parliament, but the majority of British business will be waiting to see whether a stable government can be formed in short order.

If the Conservatives govern as a minority, they must recognise that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full. Now is the time to move on from the rhetoric of the election campaign and focus on preparing for Brexit talks. The issues of access to EU markets and the need for skilled workers are still paramount, and Brussels will be keen to get negotiations underway soon.

But Ministers also cannot take their eye off the ball on important long term issues such as renewing the UK’s infrastructure, making sure our education system keeps up with developing technologies and business models, and our tax system is competitive and reflective of today’s economy. To do this, it will be vital that the voice of business is listened to, in a way that was not always the case in this election.”

Business leaders will be acutely aware that Parliaments without majorities are more prone to politicking and point-scoring than most. If we do indeed see a minority Government, both sides of the aisle must swallow their pride and work on a cross-party basis on the most important issues. The last thing business leaders need is a Parliament in paralysis, and the consequences for British businesses and for the UK as an investment destination would be severe.

More on the general election

How might the next government affect British business?

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About author

Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin is director general of the IoD. Prior to joining the IoD in February 2017, Martin was chief executive of Clugston Group, a role he held from 2006. While running the construction company, Martin appeared in Channel Four's Undercover Boss, assuming a new identity to go incognito in the business. Martin's career has also included roles at Westinghouse Security Systems, Amey Rail and twchief executive of Barhale Construction. He was made a fellow of the IoD in 2011. To read Director's exclusive first interview with Stephen Martin click the globe icon below.

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