Brexit to turbocharge growth and stop tax hikes – Jacob Rees-Mogg urged to SEIZE victory

Brexit: Rees-Mogg says he has ‘no buyer’s remorse’

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Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s spring statement, CBI boss Tony Danker urged ministers to take full advantage of the Brexit opportunities that are arising and to develop a growth strategy that would see UK firms outstrip their European rivals. The director general of the business body urged Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg to make full use of the economic freedoms the Government now has away from the European Union to use state aid to help British companies.

But he warned that on top of the much-criticised National Insurance hike coming into force in April, taxes and or borrowing may have to rise yet again unless ministers prioritised economic growth.

Mr Danker told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “Taxes are on the rise. Debt is on the rise and growth is flat-lining.

“My big concern for this spring statement – and for the whole of economic policy this year – is that unless this Government works out how to get growth going, we are going to have more incidents like the National Insurance problem where of course, spending needs to go up.

“The pressures on public spending are inexorable.

“I’m not sure how much higher taxes can go, so you either borrow more, which I don’t think many Tories want to do, or you grow more.”

The CBI chief is open to a “radical discussion” about what the prospect of “Brexit Opportunities” looks like, by prioritising services in upcoming trade talks and pledging to grow faster than the European Union.

He said: “What are the Brexit opportunities? If you ask me, number one – that we actually now are sovereign about an economic strategy to grow faster than the rest of Europe.

“Number two, we now can think about international trade on our terms – we should be thinking about services because we’re a very services dominated economy.”

He continued: “I was not a Brexiteer, but I am a post-Brexiteer. I’m interested in what happens now.

“Brexit is a two part process, part one – we leave. Part two – we grow, we flourish.

“The swashbuckling, Conservative enterprising party makes Britain a high growth country.

“I’m waiting for that part. That is the bit I am signed up for.”

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In what appeared to be a direct message to Mr Rees-Mogg, who was only recently appointed to his new role, Mr Danker added: “What are we backing? Are we backing emerging British success stories?

“I want to see the Brexit Opportunities Minister say ‘I am no longer constrained by state aid. I’m going to put government right in the middle of that’.”

The CBI boss claimed that occasionally, “business will get taken out for a beating” when populism demands it, adding it is “regrettable” that when “the Government is under a bit of pressure, we’ll get a bit of a whack”.

But he shut down those criticising the Government for being anti-business – despite the lobby group’s public opposition to Brexit.

Mr Danker said: “Let’s be honest, when populism demands it, business will get taken out for a beating. That’s what happens from time to time.”

“People say the Government is anti-business. I don’t believe it is. I do think this Government is quite populist.”

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