Many firms ‘actively tackling’ gender pay gap, survey suggests

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has suggested that 93% of UK firms are ‘actively tackling’ their gender pay gap.

Image result for Many firms 'actively tackling' gender pay gap

The survey of 350 businesses revealed that 60% of firms believe that diversity helps them to attract and retain staff, and a further 50% said it has brought new skills and capabilities into their workforce.

According to the survey, 50% of respondents are seeking to improve gender diversity in ‘all levels’ of their business.

Commenting on the CBI’s findings, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: ‘For the most part, employers are focusing on improving progression opportunities and on workplace diversity, which are positive steps. But there’s scope to go further, particularly on improving the gender balance in senior roles.’

As part of the second round of gender pay gap reporting, businesses and organisations are required to provide information on their gender pay gap by specific deadlines. Public sector organisations must publish and submit their data to the government by 30 March 2019, whilst businesses and charities must publish and submit by 4 April 2019.

Advertisements

UK ‘not where it should be’ in regard to Brexit, leading business groups warn

Five of the leading business groups in the UK have warned MPs that the UK is ‘not where it should be’ in regard to its Brexit plans.Image result for UK 'not where it should be' in regard to Brexit, leading business groups warnImage result for UK 'not where it should be' in regard to Brexit, leading business groups warn

Image result for UK 'not where it should be' in regard to Brexit, leading business groups warn

The government recently confirmed that it has decided to prioritise preparing for a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and intends to advise UK businesses to begin implementing their contingency plans.

In a joint letter, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and manufacturers’ organisation the EEF stated that UK firms have been ‘watching in horror’ as politicians have focused on ‘factional disputes’ rather than the practical steps that need to be taken to secure an advantageous Brexit deal.

The letter also said that firms are ‘pausing or diverting investment’ in order to prepare for a potential no deal Brexit scenario.

The business groups believe that there is ‘not enough time’ to prevent the ‘severe dislocation and disruption’ that will come hand-in-hand with a no deal Brexit scenario. They have called for MPs to ‘talk to their local business communities’ over the festive break in order to help ‘find a way forward’ when they return to Parliament.

Business groups react to Brexit deal vote delay

Business groups have responded to the postponing of the vote on the draft Brexit deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May intends to meet EU officials and European leaders in order to ‘discuss with them the clear concerns’ MPs have in regard to the deal.

Image result for Business groups react to Brexit deal vote delay

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that the delay is ‘yet another blow’ for businesses seeking clarity. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘Investment plans have been paused for two and a half years. Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis.’

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) stated that business is ‘intensely frustrated’ by the delay. Dr Adam Marshall, its Director General, commented: ‘Businesses are clear that time is rapidly running out. With just over 100 days to go until 29 March, many are already enacting contingency plans in the absence of clarity from Westminster.

‘Businesses need clarity and precision on the UK’s future relationship with the EU and with other key trading partners. Businesses are clear that they do not want a messy and disorderly exit, which both government and far too many firms are under prepared for.’

The Institute of Directors (IoD) called for the government to be ‘clearer’ on its contingency plans. Stephen Martin, Director General of the IoD, said: ‘Many companies are still in the dark about what HMRC and border agencies would require the day after Brexit if there is no transition period. Partly because of a lack of information, only 14% of IoD members say they are fully prepared to manage no deal, highlighting the scale of the challenge if a withdrawal agreement isn’t ratified.’

Business groups react to draft Brexit deal

Business groups have reacted to the government’s draft Brexit deal with the EU.

Image result for Business groups react to draft Brexit deal

Following a five-hour debate on the matter, Prime Minister Theresa May secured her Cabinet’s backing for the deal. However, a handful of MPs have resigned following the agreement, with some stating that they cannot support the draft deal, including Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Shailesh Vara, and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

Commenting on the deal, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: ‘The UK has had many months of discussion and division. A long journey still lies ahead, but now is the time for decisions. And the first decision is to avoid no deal.’

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that the deal is a ‘welcome step back’ from the ‘no deal cliff edge’. Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, commented: ‘Many small businesses will be relieved to finally see some progress being made.

‘If this deal passes Parliament, small businesses will be given the security of a transition period which will allow them to carry on operating as they do now from 29 March 2019 until at least the end of 2020.’

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) stated that firms need ‘clarity and precision’ on the terms of trade. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘Businesses will be looking carefully and deliberately at the real-world implications of this agreement over the coming days, and expect their elected representatives to do the same.’

Providing nothing ‘extraordinary’ happens, the EU will hold an ’emergency’ summit on 25 November, in order to ‘finalise and formalise’ the deal.

Businesses ‘frustrated by lack of progress in Brexit talks’

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has suggested that ‘patience is now threadbare’ amongst UK businesses in regard to the government’s progress in its Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Image result for lack of progress in Brexit talks

Businesses report that the lack of progress is having an adverse effect on many of their business decisions.

The survey revealed that 80% of firms believe that Brexit uncertainty is having a ‘negative impact’ on their investment decisions. The majority of businesses polled stated that they may have to implement ‘damaging’ contingency plans if no further progress is made by December.

Firms’ contingency plans include altering supply chains outside the UK; cutting jobs; relocating production and services overseas; and stockpiling goods.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘The situation is now urgent. The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground.

‘Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved.

‘As long as ‘no deal’ remains a possibility, the effect is corrosive for the UK economy, jobs and communities.’

Business group proposes overhaul of tax regime for financial services sector

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has proposed an overhaul of the tax and regulatory regime for the financial services sector so that the industry can effectively deal with the ‘challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing technological landscape’.

Image result for financial services sector

In a new report, the CBI stated that the financial services sector is ‘grappling’ with the challenges of technological change, as well as dealing with ‘shifting tax and regulatory expectations’.

The business group argued that the financial services sector requires regulations that are ‘fit-for-purpose in a new technological age’.

Some of the proposals put forward by the CBI include creating a new Treasury Select Committee sub-committee for financial services, in order to ‘scrutinise regulations and taxes’; strengthening engagement with the Financial Stability Board; and establishing a cross-sector financial services technology ‘hub’, supported by both the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to share best practice, knowledge and the latest technologies.

Commenting on the report, the CBI’s Head of Financial Services, Flora Hamilton, said: ‘The challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid pace and tremendous scale of technological change come in equal measures for financial services firms. To fully embrace this change, firms are clear that they need the right regulatory and tax framework in which to operate, so they can innovate and grow.’

CBI publishes wishlist for 2018 Autumn Budget

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published its wishlist ahead of the Autumn Budget, which is set to be delivered on Monday 29 October.

Image result for CBI publishes wishlist for 2018 Autumn Budget

Within its Budget submission, the CBI outlines ways to ‘unlock enterprise, increase the country’s competitiveness and attract more investors’.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to focus on three key areas in order to ‘unlock growth’:

  • Overhaul the UK’s business rates model to ensure firms can invest and grow
  • Make the Apprenticeship Levy ‘work effectively’ by raising the limit on transfers and reducing the cap for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 10% to 5%
  • Review the capital allowances regime, with a focus on new technology, and with a view to increasing the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) to £500,000 from its current figure of £200,000.

The CBI’s Budget submission also puts forward several policy recommendations, including delivering the world’s ‘most competitive’ R&D tax credit; delaying the introduction of new tax rules, such as the off-payroll working rules in the private sector, until April 2020; and creating an online ‘one-stop shop’ for firms’ Brexit queries.

Commenting on the wishlist, Ms Fairbairn said: ‘As we near the end of Brexit negotiations, the world’s gaze is fixed on these shores. This Budget is a pivotal moment and a chance to showcase the UK as an open, collaborative and confident nation.’