New body planned to represent businesses as CBI mothballs activities

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The man trying to set up a new body to take over following the troubles at the Confederation of British Industry has questioned if there is any point in remaining a member of the trade body.

Nick Faith, who wants to launch a new lobbying body called BizUK, said that with an election coming within the next year and a half, issues at the CBI have left a gap.

Mr Faith told the PA news agency that no companies have signed up to his new group yet as it is still early in the process, but he hopes to have between 50 and 60 organisations within the next four to six weeks.

A batch of letters inviting chief executives to join were sent out on Friday with the remainder set to be distributed in the early part of this week.

It comes after the trade body last week mothballed key parts of its operations following a series of allegations of sexual misconduct and rape by members of its staff.

“I think the CBI exists to act as a collective voice of industry with Government and other political parties, and if those ties have been cut with those parties you have to question what the point of continued membership of the organisation is, especially with an election 12-16 months away,” Mr Faith told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.

“And that’s why we’re establishing BizUK, because there is a clear gap for a collective independent voice to be able to make the case for mid-sized and larger businesses with political parties of all colour in a period which is hugely important over the next 12 months.”

Mr Faith said on Sunday that he and the consultancy he runs, WPI Strategy, have been holding meetings with Government and opposition parties and would form BizUK.

“To be clear from the outset, we are not looking to replace the CBI,” he said in a statement.

“It is not a trade body or a rolling membership body. Instead BizUK will be a temporary, time-limited initiative, focused on helping businesses communicate new thinking ahead of the next general election.”

Mr Faith said the group would focus on four different areas: skills and productivity; trade and investment; science and technology; and energy security and decarbonisation.

He said that the group would disclose its members, who will all pay the same one-off fee to the project.

BizUK will produce four different reports representing the views of its members.

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