2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

2018 Spring Statement – the business reaction

Business groups have responded to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement speech.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) gave a broadly positive response, and welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to tackling the issue of late payments to small firms. Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, stated: ‘The Chancellor is absolutely right to commit the government to eliminate the scourge of late payments, which place cruel financial pressure on more than eight out of ten small businesses.

‘The Chancellor explicitly put himself on the side of the UK’s millions of small businesses and self-employed.’

The response from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), however, was decidedly lukewarm. Commenting on the speech, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘As deficit and debt levels improve, the Chancellor must resist calls to pour money into politically-attractive, short-term spending priorities.

‘A far stronger push is needed to fund and fix the fundamentals here in the UK over the coming months, and business wants the Chancellor to use his Autumn Budget to double down and spend to improve digital connectivity, deliver further road and rail improvements, strengthen the UK’s energy security and build more houses.’

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) praised the Chancellor for backing British businesses to ‘secure the UK’s future prosperity in a new economy’.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the CBI, said: ‘It’s great to see an upgrade in the state of our public finances, and rightly sensible to set more aside for a rainy day with Brexit uncertainty still weighing on the economy.

‘The CBI has long called for just one Budget in a year, creating more room for the government and business to get to work. But the Spring Statement is still important, and this one has proved more than welcome in setting the tone and vision for the country’s economic future.’

Advertisements
CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed a significant rise in the number of people who believe UK businesses have a good reputation.

The CBI’s survey compared public perceptions of UK firms between May and November 2017, and found that two in three individuals believe that UK businesses have a good reputation.

It also suggested that members of the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits businesses bring to their local communities.

The main bulk of positive views on UK businesses were given by people aged between 18 and 34: when compared to previous findings, a 15% rise in positive views amongst 18 to 34-year-olds was recorded.

One of the most significant drivers behind the rise in public confidence was having a sense of pride in British business. The quality of UK firms’ goods and services also helped to boost confidence amongst the public, the survey revealed.

Commenting on the findings, Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the CBI, said: ‘CBI members are in no doubt: trust underpins growth. A strong relationship between business, employees and consumers will help to increase standards of living. Trust is built on understanding – the more the public see the benefits business brings, the better the relationship.’


 

UK businesses ‘set to increase employee pay’ in 2018, CBI finds

UK businesses ‘set to increase employee pay’ in 2018, CBI finds

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has suggested that business owners in the UK will seek to increase their employees’ pay in 2018.

Image result for UK businesses set to increase employee pay in 2018The CBI found that 52% of survey respondents will aim to raise pay for their employees in line with, or above, inflation in the coming year.

51% of businesses are also seeking to grow their workforce in 2018, the data revealed.

However, a significant number of firms reported that they have been affected by rises in the National Living Wage (NLW): 55% stated that they have felt the effects of the NLW on their business, which is a slight rise when compared to last year’s figure of 50%.

Commenting on the findings, Matthew Percival, Head of Employment Policy at the CBI, said: ‘Living standards have been squeezed in 2017 because of higher inflation.

‘The good news is that despite this, more than half of companies will offer real pay rises next year – despite a slowing economy.

‘Higher productivity is the only sustainable way to increase pay, so it is rightly the focus of business and the government through the Industrial Strategy.’

CBI predicts UK economic growth to remain ‘steady but subdued’

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has stated that economic growth in the UK is on course to remain ‘steady, but subdued’ over the next couple of years.

The business group said that 2017 has seen ‘tepid growth’, and predicts that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow at a rate of 1.5% in 2017, 1.5% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019.

It also predicts quarterly GDP growth of 0.3% up to the end of 2019.

Commenting on the forecasts, Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the CBI, said: ‘After a timid 2017, UK economic growth is set to remain steady but sluggish, with less pep than we’ve seen over the past few years.

‘We expect domestic demand to remain soft. Household spending will remain under pressure from squeezed real wages and Brexit uncertainty will weigh on business investment.’

The CBI called for the government to make progress in its Brexit negotiations with the EU, and urged for clarity in regard to transitional arrangements.

Businesses and government ‘must adopt cutting-edge technologies’ says CBI

Businesses and government ‘must adopt cutting-edge technologies’ says CBI

In a new report, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for UK firms and the government to adopt new ‘cutting-edge technologies’, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things.

Image result for adopt cutting-edge technologies' says CBIIn its report, the CBI found that 49% of UK firms believe AI will help to ‘fundamentally transform’ their industry, with 23% stating that it is already impacting on their sector. A further 37% believe AI will have a significant impact on their industry in the next five years.

Meanwhile, 11% of businesses surveyed by the CBI said that blockchain is already impacting on their industry, and 54% of firms revealed that the Internet of Things is changing the way they work.

However, the report revealed that only a third of UK businesses currently have the skills and capabilities to utilise AI technology. The CBI also found that firms looking to make use of the Internet of Things are concerned over the security and privacy of their devices.

The CBI has called on the government to establish a joint commission in order to examine the impact of AI on workers and jobs. It also suggested that the commission should outline how AI could boost UK productivity, prosperity and economic growth.

Commenting on the issue, Josh Hardie, Deputy General of the CBI, said: ‘The UK must lead the way in adopting these technologies, but we must also prepare for their impacts. That’s why we urge the government to set up a joint commission on AI in 2018, involving both business and employee representatives, to better understand the impact on people’s lives, jobs and our future economic growth.’

CBI publishes Autumn Budget submission

CBI publishes Autumn Budget submission

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published its Autumn Budget wishlist, outlining a range of measures that it believes will help the UK to ‘grow its way out of austerity’.

Image result for confederation of british industryThe business group has highlighted a host of strategies, designed to fuel business investment, spur innovation and promote competitiveness in the UK tax system.

It has called for the government to ensure that business rates ‘incentivise productive investment’, redesign the Apprenticeship Levy to ‘boost productivity growth’ and outline long-term plans for Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and the corporation tax surcharge, with a view to phasing this out over time.

The CBI has also called for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to be ‘properly resourced’ to ensure that the correct amount of tax is paid at the right time, in order to allow business owners to concentrate on running their business.

In terms of infrastructure, the CBI has urged the government to ‘immediately distribute’ the £490 million Spring Budget pledge to help ‘improve local infrastructure networks’.

Commenting on the submission, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘Faltering consumer and business confidence risks lowering living standards, so it’s important the government sends firms the right signals they need to continue investing and growing.

‘Ministers need to build on the basics to get our economy in shape for the challenges ahead by demonstrating a continuing commitment to free markets, a pro-enterprise environment and maintaining a relentless focus on the drivers of productivity.’

Government establishes new Brexit business group

The government has created a new business advisory group, comprised of five major UK business groups.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and manufacturers’ organisation the EEF make up the new business group, and their director generals will meet weekly with the Business Secretary, Greg Clark.

brexit

During a recent parliamentary session, Mr Clark reported that he had met with businesses, business leaders, employees and investors around the UK since the Brexit vote. The new group will seek to ensure that business has more input into the Brexit negotiations.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, hopes that the new business advisory group will also help to achieve a ‘business-friendly’ Brexit outcome that addresses firms’ ‘real-world needs’.

Commenting on the creation of the new business group, Mr Clark said: ‘The government is creating a new EU exit business advisory group to ensure business is not only heard, but is influential throughout the negotiations.’

Meanwhile, Stephen Martin, Director General of the IoD, stated: ‘A good Brexit outcome is one that puts the economy, jobs and prosperity right at the centre of the negotiations, so we wholeheartedly welcome the formation of this advisory group by the government.’