U.K.’s Johnson to Discuss Looser Regulations with Executives

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will discuss how the country can loosen its regulatory environment with 30 business chiefs on Monday as the government seeks to rekindle an economy hobbled by the pandemic.

The Build Back Better Council brings together executives from companies including BlackRock Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Tesco Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc and will meet quarterly, according to a statement from Johnson’s office. It’s a chance for corporate leaders to provide a commercial perspective on policy and highlight obstacles and solutions to economic recovery, it said.

The council “will provide an important forum for frank feedback on our recovery plans and will help ensure the steps we are taking are the right ones,” Johnson said in the statement. “We, like many other countries, face a huge economic challenge. And as we recover from this crisis it won’t be enough to just go back to normal.”

The government is stepping up its interaction with business as it looks to spur investment by loosening rules in the wake of Brexit. Earlier this month, Johnson told business chiefs he wants their ideas on how the government can cut red tape. He’s put Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in charge of a new Better Regulation Committee in order to “push the boundaries, boost creative thinking and inject pace at the center of government.”

“Now that we have left the European Union, we have an opportunity to do things differently and this government is committed to making the most of the freedoms that Brexit affords us,” Sunak said Sunday in a statement. “This isn’t about lowering standards, but about raising our eyes to look to the future - making the most of new sectors, new thinking and new ways of working.”

Global Path

The chancellor has also been put in charge of a separate but related initiative to accelerate the machinery of government dubbed Project Speed. Sunak will also join Monday’s call of the business council, as will Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

Johnson will update the council on the pandemic, including the vaccination program, as well as on government plans to rebuild the economy.

“The government will take this opportunity as a truly independent country to forge our own economic and global path and we will explore how the opportunities outside the EU can help aid our recovery,” Johnson’s office said.

Below are the members of the council:

  • Isabel Dedring, Arup
  • Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty
  • Stephen Welton, BGF
  • Rachel Lord, BlackRock
  • Bernard Looney, BP
  • Sean Doyle, British Airways
  • Philip Jansen, BT
  • Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace
  • Penny James, Direct Line
  • Ronan Harris, Google
  • Emma Walmsley, GSK
  • Paul Deighton, Heathrow
  • Mark Tucker, HSBC
  • Carolyn McCall, ITV
  • Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership
  • Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey
  • Cressida Hogg, Landsec
  • Nigel Wilson, Legal & General
  • Vivian Hunt, McKinsey & the CBI
  • Ron Kalifa, Network International
  • Karen Jones, Prezzo
  • Laxman Narasimhan, Reckitt Benckiser
  • Liv Garfield, Severn Trent
  • Carl Ennis, Siemens
  • Martin Murphy, Syncona
  • Ken Murphy, Tesco
  • Alan Jope, Unilever
  • Charlotte Hogg, Visa
  • Ian Wood, Wood

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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