Theresa May Risks Losing the Goodwill of British Business

For many in the UK’s business community, last week’s Conservative party conference crystallised a sense of growing frustration at the new government. Home secretary Amber Rudd’s proposals to limit immigration and “name and shame” companies which employ large numbers of foreign workers set the stage for the prime minister to take a series of sideswipes at business in her speech, placing employers firmly in the category of the “powerful and privileged” whom she has in her sights. As well as easily decipherable attacks on Sir Philip Green at BHS and Mike Ashley at Sports Direct, the speech reiterated some of the measures on corporate governance that Mrs May is contemplating. These include worker and consumer representatives on boards, binding shareholder votes on executive pay and publishing the ratio between chief executive and median workers’ pay.

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