Boris Johnson will this week hold his first formal talks with business leaders since sealing his Brexit deal, even as the economy faces another shock from the impact of the home nations’ latest coronavirus lockdowns.
Sky News understands that a number of executives have been asked to join a conference call with the prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, during which he will elaborate on plans to bolster investment in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Senior business figures have received an invitation to a call focused on the PM’s Brexit deal and how “business and HMG can best work together to build back better in 2021”, according to one of the recipients.
The talks will follow the cancellation of a call with private sector executives on Christmas Eve, hours after Mr Johnson reached an agreement with European leaders about aspects of the UK-‘s future trading relationship with the EU.
Executives in the financial services sector in particular have urged the government to make rapid progress in concluding talks that will dictate the extent of reciprocal access to European markets.
One executive said the “collegiate” wording of the invitation to Wednesday’s call was encouraging in the context of an often-icy relationship between Mr Johnson and the business community since he took office.
The PM scrapped the business councils structure used by Theresa May, his predecessor, to engage with the bosses of major companies.
Last year, he appointed Alex Hickman, a founder of the think-tank Open Europe, as his chief business adviser.
Mr Hickman replaced the former Sky executive Andrew Griffith, who was elected as an MP in December 2019 and was recently appointed as the PM’s Net Zero Business Champion.
Downing Street has been contacted for comment.