The chancellor Rishi Sunak has called on businesses to ramp up investment in training and innovation to help alleviate a cost of living squeeze, in a speech to the country’s top business chiefs last night.
Speaking to the Confederation of British Industry, Sunak said that while government investment had risen to its highest level since the 1970s, a lack of private sector investment was dragging on productivity.
“Over this Parliament, we in government are delivering our pledge to increase public investment in research and development by 50 per cent to £22bn,” he said.
“But businesses’ investment in R&D, as a percentage of GDP, is less than half the OECD average. In other words, further government action can only take us so far. We need you.
“We need you to invest more, train more, and innovate more,” he said.
Sunak reiterated a commitment to reform R&D tax cuts to help boost investment in areas like education and training for employees., which he said was the path to “higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future”.
His comments came after official statistics yesterday showed that inflation leapt to nine per cent last month, with calls now growing on the Chancellor to deliver an emergency budget to help ease the pain of a cost of living crunch on households.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Tony Danker, director general of the CBI said Sunak needed to act now to address the rising cost of living and boost investment.
“You have to help the hardest hit now. Helping people with heating and eating bills will not fuel inflation,” he said.
“You need to stimulate business investment now – that’s not going to overheat the economy.”