A former adviser to David Cameron and proponent of EU reform is to grow to be Boris Johnson’s key business liaison determine as Britain’s financial system wrestles with the devastating influence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sky News has learnt that Alex Hickman, who has been a Downing Street adviser since March, will grow to be head of the prime minister’s business group in July.
Mr Hickman’s at No 10 appointment follows a profession during which he has constantly opposed nearer integration between the UK and European Union.
His arrival as particular adviser to the PM on business, appointments and honours comes at a essential time for Mr Johnson’s administration.
Downing Street has been engaged on an overhaul of its engagement with the personal sector since December’s basic election, with the PM deciding to desert the community of business councils briefly adopted by his predecessor, Theresa May.
That rethink has been given added impetus by the COVID-19 pandemic, with business chiefs eager for Mr Johnson to ascertain a proper framework for future engagement with the federal government.
At the identical time, business teams which have had an uneasy relationship with Mr Johnson and Dominic Cummings, his under-fire particular adviser, have been at pains to remark positively on the size of the federal government’s response to the present financial disaster.
In explicit, folks near the CBI, the UK’s greatest employers’ group, say relations have improved significantly because the disaster started.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has overseen the introduction of an unprecedented array of help schemes to attempt to clean the circulation of credit score to struggling companies, and pay the salaries of thousands and thousands of employees.
With Britain on the point of what some economists imagine might be a deep recession, nonetheless, consideration has turned to Mr Johnson’s plans to assist the personal sector restoration.
It is unclear whether or not the new business chief at No 10 will contemplate establishing a new business council.
Mr Hickman’s appointment as the PM’s business liaison chief was confirmed by a Downing Street spokeswoman on Wednesday.
It brings into Mr Johnson’s group one other of the senior figures who campaigned for Brexit forward of the 2016 referendum.
Mr Hickman successfully replaces Andrew Griffith, who was put in final summer season as the PM’s chief business adviser however stepped down after successful a protected Tory seat at December’s election.
Since then, Katie Lam, one other official, has been overseeing the business liaison transient on an interim foundation.
He was chief govt of Business for Sterling, the organisation which lobbied towards Britain becoming a member of the Euro, earlier than co-founding the thinktank Open Europe.
A stint as Mr Cameron’s international coverage adviser specializing in UK coverage in direction of the EU and India adopted.
Mr Hickman then arrange Chartwell Partners, a speaker bureau, earlier than leaving in 2016 to spearhead plenty of Brexit-related initiatives, together with Prosperity UK.
He stepped down as a non-executive director of Northbank Talent Management shortly earlier than he joined No 10”s group of SPADs, in accordance with his LinkedIn profile.
Mr Hickman couldn’t be reached for touch upon Wednesday.