British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: POOL VIA REUTERS/OLGA AKMEN
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: POOL VIA REUTERS/OLGA AKMEN

London — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to discuss how the country could loosen its regulatory environment with 30 business chiefs on Monday as the government seeks to rekindle an economy hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Build Back Better Council brings together executives from companies including BlackRock,  GlaxoSmithKline,  Tesco and HSBC Holdings and will meet quarterly, according to a statement from Johnson’s office. It is 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 in January, Johnson told business chiefs he wants their ideas on how the government can cut red tape. He has 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 centre of government”.

“Now that we have left the EU, 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 in a statement on Sunday.

“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.”

The chancellor has also been put in charge of a separate but related initiative to accelerate the machinery of government dubbed Project Speed.

Johnson was expected to update the Build Back Better Council on the pandemic, including the vaccination programme, 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.



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