Theresa May tells global leaders in Davos to sign up to fairness agenda

Posted On: 
19th January 2017

Theresa May today railed against bad business practices as she urged global firms and world leaders to “harness the forces of globalisation” to help those who feel left behind in today’s economy. 

Theresa May addressed global bigwigs at the World Economic Forum in Davos today
PA Images

The Prime Minister called on political and financial bigwigs to sign up to “the legacy” of improving fairness for all as she addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Meanwhile she declared the UK “open for business” and set out her hopes for Britain’s trading relationships around the globe after Brexit.

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In a speech reminiscent of her very first as British premier she attacked those who “seem to play by a different set of rules” while she championed the “just managing”.

Mrs May argued both business and government had a role to play in using the benefits of global free trade to improve the lot of the poorest.

She urged firms to pay “their fair share of tax”, care for their employees and take action on executive pay and accountability.

And she said governments must play an active role in sharing prosperity rather than “getting out of the way” and allowing business to “get on with the job… assuming problems just fix themselves”.

“It is my firm belief that we – as governments, international institutions, businesses and individuals – need to do more to respond to the concerns of those who feel that the modern world has left them behind," Mrs May told the annual event at the alpine ski resort.

“Because talk of greater globalisation can make people fearful. For many, it means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut. It means having to sit back as they watch their communities change around them.

“And in their minds, it means watching as those who prosper seem to play by a different set of rules, while for many life remains a struggle as they get by, but don’t necessarily get on.”

She demanded that leaders “harness the forces of globalisation so that the system works for everyone, and so maintain public support for that system for generations to come”.

And she added: “I want that to be the legacy of our time.

"To use this moment to provide responsive, responsible leadership that will bring the benefits of free trade to every corner of the world; that will lift millions more out of poverty and towards prosperity; and that will deliver security, prosperity and belonging for all of our people.”