The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has established a new business lobby group, the Business Council, with several of the UK’s largest companies as founding partners, including Heathrow, BP, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Drax. The creation of the Business Council comes at a crucial time for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which is facing a critical vote on its future due to severe sexual misconduct allegations.
The CBI has been gathering opinions from its current members regarding a series of reforms, with results to be announced at an important meeting on Tuesday. Thirteen companies, such as manufacturing giant Siemens and software firm Microsoft, have publicly supported the CBI ahead of the vote. However, the Business Council aims to attract the support of businesses that have severed ties with the CBI, including well-known names like John Lewis and BMW.
The BCC is recognized for its work in supporting and connecting tens of thousands of companies in the UK and internationally, as well as for its quarterly economic survey. BCC director general Shevaun Haviland and president Baroness Martha Lane Fox will meet with business leaders in London on Monday to discuss the new council’s agenda.
Haviland stated that the nation’s largest corporations have expressed their desire for a different kind of representation. She added that these businesses want to be part of a framework that is rooted in local communities but also has the ability to shape national and international debates.
The Business Council will concentrate on an initiative aimed at the future of the economy. The extent of support the CBI will continue to receive will not be known until Tuesday, but the CBI’s new director general, Rain Newton-Smith, has deemed the vote “critical” to its future. The BBC’s business editor, Simon Jack, noted that the timing of the BCC’s announcement is difficult to overlook, as the launch signifies a “tussle for the trust of business and the ear of government.”
A CBI source commented that the timing of the announcement is “very opportunistic,” and that businesses succeed through a collaborative approach, which they find more effective. Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that the CBI’s former director general, Tony Danker, intends to sue his previous employer after being forced out due to the sexual misconduct allegations.
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