What do we want to achieve?

2016 saw the UK take a momentous decision about its relationship with the rest of the world. The vital decisions we take in 2017 will be arguably even more important as we define how we should reset this relationship. This will shape the prospects for people, businesses and communities across the UK for generations to come.

The CBI and its members have a fundamental role to play. Industry is committed to stepping up to provide the necessary leadership and collaborating in an open, three-way partnership between Government, business and society to make 2017 a year of progress and success. This partnership will harness all our skills, insights and experience to help build a successful, modern economy as the foundation for a prosperous, fairer and more inclusive society.

In order to make this happen we need to develop a modern Industrial Strategy that will fix the UK's productivity problems and even out the regional inequalities that have dogged our country for generations. CBI research suggests that the main drivers of these inequalities are educational attainment, regional infrastructure, management practice and the propensity of firms to export and innovate. If we improve the UK's performance in these areas and reduce these imbalances, we could see an increase of almost 10% in the size of our economy by 2024. This will make a tangible improvement to the lives of families and communities across the UK, not just London and the South East. We will have a better educated, more skilled workforce as well as improved infrastructure to support our future prosperity.

The manner in which we leave the European Union will be fundamental to the success of this strategy. The CBI will be working with the Government to help make a success of Brexit with a 'whole economy' approach. We will continue to bring insights from our membership which encompasses all sectors of the economy from every region and nation of the UK. Our research shows how interconnected the modern UK economy is and we cannot afford to leave any sector or region behind in the negotiations – to do so would be to damage others.

To succeed domestically and internationally, the UK must focus its knowledge, creativity and experience on five key areas:

  • Access to people and skills
  • World class infrastructure
  • Globally competitive tax, fiscal policy and regulation
  • The climate and capabilities to innovate
  • Easy and open access to markets across the world

By getting these right, Government and business together can deliver prosperity across the UK. Getting this done depends on an open and honest dialogue and we welcome the engagement we are having with the Government. We recognise that open dialogue between business and society is just as essential and that building trust in business is critical. To achieve this, firms must work in an open and fair way with their employees, customers and suppliers. In return, the Government, employees and customers should champion the businesses that do this. 2017 must be the year when this honest dialogue begins to deliver for Britain.

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Prosperity agenda

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People and Skills

Access to the people and skills needed for growth

People and skills are at the heart of our economic prosperity. With a good education and the right skills, everyone has the best chance to get a job and get on in their career. And for the UK to seize new opportunities and grow, we need a trained and diverse workforce, supported by good business practice and the right policy environment.

In 2017 the CBI will be answering the following big questions:

- Making local skills markets work – how to create an effective skills market that gives employers access to the skills they need to grow, and individuals the opportunity to develop the skills they need to progress and succeed?

- Shaping the schools system – how can the schools system promote social mobility, address skills gaps and deliver good careers?

- People and productivity – how will the successful companies of the future work with their employees?


Enabling world-class infrastructure which underpin a healthy economy

From the roads and railways that connect the UK, the homes people live in, to the energy supply that powers homes and businesses, infrastructure provides the essential foundations business needs to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for all.

In 2017 the CBI will be answering the following big questions:

- 2030 low carbon vision – how can the transition to a low carbon economy create jobs, spread growth and deliver changing technologies across the UK?

- Infrastructure funding and finance – how can the UK pay for the vital transport infrastructure it needs without undermining the public finances

- National Infrastructure Commission – how can the commission continue to set out a long-term needs-based assessment for UK infrastructure?

Tax and Regulation

Globally competitive tax, fiscal policy and regulation

Setting a framework for tax, fiscal policy and regulation that unlocks entrepreneurship, growth and job creation. In a globalised world, a stable system of regulation and tax that encourages innovation and investment will help the UK stand out from the pack as an attractive place to invest, locate and do business, supporting jobs and local communities now and in the future.

In 2017 the CBI will be answering the following big questions:

- Tax in a modern economy – how can the tax system keep pace with new technology that is changing the way businesses operate and people live and work?

- The impact of Brexit – what impact will the UK’s changing relationship with the EU have on the UK tax system and customs system?


Creating a climate for cutting-edge innovation, spurring competition and increasing productivity

Innovation is at the heart of economic, social and cultural development in the UK. It drives productivity, helping to raise living standards and laying the foundations for tomorrow’s world. When businesses adopt the latest innovative processes, technologies and digital strategies they create more jobs, generate investment and boost exports.

In 2017 the CBI will be answering the following big questions:

- Roadmap to 3 percent GDP - how can business and government work together to increase innovation investment?

- Making the most of disruptive technologies – what technologies are likely to disrupt key sectors of our economy and how can businesses prepare?

- Digital infrastructure – how can business and families access reliable high speed broadband across the UK?


Ensuring an openness to the world, with UK firms able to trade easily with markets old and new, and international investors eager to do business in the UK

By partnering to help more businesses invest as well as to buy and sell their products and services internationally, government and business can increase competition, keep prices down for consumers, support job creation and deliver lasting growth and prosperity.

In 2017 the CBI will be answering the following big questions:

- Future of UK trade – what are the most effective and efficient means of increasing market access for British goods and services in foreign markets? How could trade negotiations on specific market and sector opportunities deliver growth and prosperity for the UK economy?

- Why trade matters – how does trade make a difference to the nation’s prosperity and the everyday lives of people across the UK?

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CBI campaigns

Cutting across all of these areas, the CBI will also undertake major projects on the UK's EU negotiation, Industrial Strategy and the value of business.

EU negotiation project

When the UK voted to leave the European Union on the 23 June 2016, it was clear that businesses would be faced with change. Firms continue to manage this change and uncertainty with focus, determination and a clear message: the final result must be a coherent deal that delivers the best outcome for every region and every sector of the UK economy.

Since the EU Referendum result, the CBI has been consulting with firms from all sectors and sizes across the UK on the issues of most concern. The depth of our network at home and abroad, and our relationship with 190,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK, means the CBI is able to bring a unique whole economy perspective.

In 2017 the CBI will focus on:

- Helping business to cut through the political noise and plan for the future – we are holding Brexit Intelligence Briefings across all UK regions and nations, and are publishing papers to help businesses ask themselves the right questions as they prepare for Brexit

- Ensuring that the negotiations are focused on economic arguments and do not become too politicised – we have published an in-depth sectoral Brexit analysis, Making a Success of Brexit, and will continue to provide solutions to complex Brexit policy issues

- Understanding and influencing the European voice – As of March 2017, we have met senior political stakeholders from 17 of 27 other EU countries and engaged with our sister federations from all EU countries and beyond. A packed programme of visits is lined up for the rest of the year, including Rome, Copenhagen and The Hague.

Value of business

Moving the economy forward in a fairer and more inclusive way emerged as a clear message from the referendum. The role of business has never been more important – business leaders now have an opportunity to help shape an economy that works for everyone. The CBI will undertake new work to better position the business community to demonstrate such leadership: we will offer a clear understanding of public sentiment and how business should talk about the value they create, as well as supporting the business community to take action – underpinned by evidence – that goes to the heart of the issue.

In 2017 the CBI will focus on:

- Set up value of business taskforce and commission new public perceptions research – the CBI will convene a steering group of business leaders and challengers to help shape our work and inform the commissioning of new public perceptions research

- Establish a shared narrative of the value of business - based on the public perceptions research and shared across the business community as well as all CBI communications

- Develop business-led solutions - building on the evidence, explore a few specific actions that business can lead on and that will address the heart of the issue.

Industrial Strategy

A new, modern industrial strategy has the potential to build confidence and prosperity by unlocking growth and productivity across the regions and nations of the UK. To this challenge, the UK’s companies hold many of the answers – building a skills system for years to come, ensuring Britain is a leading location for cutting-edge innovation and helping to renew our nation’s infrastructure.

Building on the CBI’s ground breaking UK-wide analysis into the regional drivers of productivity, the CBI will be working with government to deliver a modern industrial strategy that supports sectors where the UK holds a competitive advantage and leverages strengths across all parts of the country.

In 2017 the CBI will:

- Build a clear CBI vision of place and sector based Industrial Strategy built on systematic government engagement and involvement, and substantial representation from business of all sizes and regions

- Facilitate regional industrial strategies that can be aggregated to the whole economy rolled out through regional events with members.

next page: A strategy to deliver for our members

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