6 November 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team

Update

Economy improving but more to do – Cridland

In his valedictory interviews ahead of CBI Annual Conference, John Cridland highlighted business trust, the national living wage, education and the EU referendum as key issues for business.

In interviews with The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph as he approaches the end of his tenure as director-general, John Cridland highlighted what he sees as the main challenges for British business in the coming years. John said he is leaving his post much more confident about the UK economy than when he took on the role of director-general in 2011.

Click here to read the media coverage of John’s interview

John stressed that while the economy is strengthening, the damage done to the public’s trust in business by the economic crisis would take twenty years to repair and it is crucial that consumers believe companies are a positive influence. The CBI has been front and centre on this issue during John’s time as director-general, with the launch of our Great Business Debate. 

Click here to read more about the Great Business Debate

John also cautioned the government that the planned new national living wage could create problems for employment and growth. He warned that increasing the minimum wage by five per cent a year over the next five years could outpace the ability of businesses to improve their productivity.  John said it was a “big ask” and an unintended consequence may be a “labour light” service sector.

Turning to education, John said he wanted to see four changes to the system: careers guidance at the start of secondary school; high quality vocational and technical education along German lines to be provided from 14; an end to “the exam factory” by abolishing GCSEs; and a single test for all pupils at 18 with equal parity for academic and non-academic courses.

Finally, John made clear that, while there is not a uniform view, a majority of CBI members wanted to remain in a reformed EU. The CBI has set out an ambitious reform agenda and has been vocal amongst our European counterparts in making the case for a more outward-looking, competitive and balanced EU.

Click here to read our EU pamphlet, Choosing our future

John will be delivering his final speech as director-general at our Annual Conference next week and you can watch all the action online on our website.

For more information please contact jon.harrison@cbi.org.uk