With 'change in the air', PM May asks business to help on economy

Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:13pm EST
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By Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May called on business leaders on Monday to help her government win back Britons disillusioned with liberal elites and globalization by forging an economy that "works for everyone".

Describing the election of real estate magnate Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain's vote to leave the European Union as proof that "change is in the air", May said Britain should not shy away from making the case for globalization.

Instead, government and business must show the benefits of global trade and liberalism can be shared more widely, creating jobs by pressing on with her "new industrial strategy" but also by encouraging companies to help communities, she said.

"So at this moment of change, we must respond with calm, determined, global leadership to shape a new era of globalization that works for all," she said in a speech at the Guildhall in the City of London financial district.

"I stand here confident that in facing these new challenges, once again, Britain can lead."

Many Western leaders have been rattled by the Brexit vote and Trump's election victory, fearing that they might also be brought low by growing dissatisfaction with the ruling elites.

Since Britain's vote to leave the EU in June propelled May into leadership, the former interior minister has said she will deliver Brexit and address the fears of some British voters over high levels of immigration.

That has spurred fears she may be heading for a "hard Brexit" or clean break with the EU's single market of 500 million consumers. On Monday, May again said there was no binary choice.   Continued...

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits to greet Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Downing Street in London, Britain, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville