Press release: Five new business councils to advise the Prime Minister on post-Brexit opportunities

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Each council will aim to meet three times a year, twice with the Prime Minister and once with a senior cabinet minister, to provide high-level advice and policy recommendations on the critical issues affecting business. The councils will also be a forum for government to share developing policy ideas and seek the views of members.

Co-chaired by two business leaders, each council will have around ten members representing core sectors of the UK economy, as well as a representative from the UK’s key business groups.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, said:


The UK has always been one of the best places in the world to do business and is a leader in sectors from advanced manufacturing to the creative industries.

Brexit presents a huge opportunity to build a better, stronger economy for people all over the country.

So I’ve asked these new councils to advise us on the opportunities and challenges facing business as we shape the UK for the future.

The Prime Minister will welcome the co-chairs at Downing Street for the first time on Wednesday 7 November, where she will set out their objectives and they will discuss cross-cutting issues such as productivity and international investment. Going forward, the co-chairs will be responsible for preparing agendas, ensuring all members are briefed, and driving outcomes and progress on the key enabling opportunities for the businesses represented by their council:

  • Jan du Plessis (Chairman, BT Group) and Carolyn McCall (CEO, ITV) will co-chair the Telecoms, Creative, Technology and Media Council. John Allan (President, CBI) and Stephen Martin (DG, IOD) will be the business group representatives
  • Roger Carr (Chairman, BAE Systems) and Ian Davis (Chairman, Rolls Royce) will co-chair the Industrial, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Council. Stephen Phipson (CEO, EEF) will be the business group representative
  • James Timpson (CEO, Timpson), Brent Hoberman (Co-Founder and Chairman, Founders Forum) and Emma Jones (Founder, Enterprise Nation) will co-chair the Small Business, Scale ups and Entrepreneurs Council. Mike Cherry (National Chairman, Federation of Small Business) will be the business group representative
  • Paul Manduca (Chairman, Prudential) and Shriti Vadera (Chairman, Santander UK) will co-chair the Services - Financial, Professional and Education Services Council. Carolyn Fairbairn, (DG, CBI) will be the business group representative
  • Dave Lewis (CEO, Tesco) and Emma Walmsley (CEO, GSK) will co-chair the Consumer, Retail and Life Sciences Council. Adam Marshall (DG, British Chambers of Commerce) will be the business group representative

Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation said:


The overwhelming majority of businesses in the UK are small and they are the heart of our economy – so I’m pleased that their voice is formally being recognised in these councils. I’m looking forward to representing these entrepreneurs and innovators and discussing their unique perspective with the Prime Minister.

Carolyn McCall, CEO, ITV said:


Our creative industries are a £92bn sector, growing at twice the rate of the economy and setting trends around the world. The UK exported nearly £1bn of TV programmes and formats alone in 2016/17 and film and high-end TV by themselves attracted over £2bn of inward investment to the UK in 2017, creating jobs, boosting tourism and attracting global talent to the UK. I’m delighted to co-lead with Jan Du Plessis, Chairman of BT, the Telecoms, Creatives Industries, Technology and Media council to continue to nurture this for the future.

Sir Roger Carr, Chairman, BAE Systems said:


Companies in the Industrial, Manufacturing and Infrastructure sectors are the backbone of the economy and amongst our largest employers. We are a vital part of the wealth creating machinery of the country where improved training, productivity and exporting will be the cornerstones of our global success. Engaging with the Prime Minister to tackle these issues in a focused and practical manner is a welcome and important step forward in achieving our collective growth ambitions.

The launch of five business councils is a new initiative and forms part of a comprehensive, sector-focused approach, enabling the Prime Minister and government to engage directly with more businesses in the different sectors of our economy.

Business council terms of reference


The role of each business council will be to provide the Prime Minister and her ministerial team with regular, high-level advice and policy recommendations on critical issues affecting business that will enable companies to invest, grow and succeed in the UK once it leaves the European Union. The councils are to be formed as follows:

Services - Financial, Professional and Education Services:

  • financial services
  • professional and business services
  • education and research
Industrial, Infrastructure and Manufacturing:

  • materials
  • aerospace
  • defence
  • advanced manufacturing
  • automotive, aviation, ports and rail
  • infrastructure, construction and housing
  • energy
  • environmental services
Consumer, Retail and Life Sciences:

  • life sciences
  • agriculture, food and drink
  • consumer goods and retail
  • tourism
Telecoms, Creative Industries, Technology and Media:

  • digital and telecoms
  • media and broadcasting
  • creative industries
Small Business, Scale ups and Entrepreneurs


The business councils will be advisory, will hold no decision making powers and will report to the Prime Minister.

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