CBI demands 'change of tone' on business from Tories ahead of Philip Hammond's conference speech

 
Josh Mines
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The head of the CBI Carolyn Fairbairn said she hoped the Tory conference would signal a "change of tone" on business from the Conservatives (Source: Getty)

The boss of the Confederation of British Industry this morning said she hoped for a "change of tone" at the Conservative Party conference ahead of chancellor Philip Hammond's speech later today.


Hammond is expected to say business remains at the centre of Tory policy when he addresses delegates on the second day of the conference.

Read more: Hammond to strike business-friendly tone in conference speech

Speaking to the BBC this morning, CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said:

We are hoping that this conference can represent a change of tone.


Business holds the key through job creation and investment.We need to be able to grow our way out of our low-productivity challenge and that is what we’re hoping to hear a lot more about today.

In his speech today Hammond is expected to announce £125m funding to support apprenticeship courses and increase the number of people accessing STEM subjects, transport and healthcare.

"Economic freedom goes hand in hand with political freedom and above all, the belief in the power of enterprise as the route to unleash talent and to improve lives," he will say.

"That's why we back business, as the cornerstone of a successful economy; as a force for good in our society; and as an essential expression of our values."

It comes a day after a prominent eurosceptic Tory backbencher, Steve Baker, launched a scathing attack against the CBI, branding it "a grave menace to the political stability and economic prospects of the UK".

The Conservatives enter day two of conference after a difficult start, which saw a flaw in its app reveal the mobile phone numbers of several high ranking officials.

Read more: Conservative Party conference app flaw exposes MPs' phone numbers