Watch the webinar
- Callum Biggins, Director of Campaigns, CBI
- Anna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist, CBI
- Guy Dru Drury MBE, Head of Group, Beijing, CBI
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (chair)
In this session:
- Callum Biggins kicked off the session this morning with an update on the domestic picture. The roadmap announcement on Monday contained three key things for business: the re-opening of indoor hospitality, indoor play centres/cinemas, and hotels/wider tourism. Complex picture across the 4 nations: Scotland and Wales following a similar trajectory with NI waiting until 24 to re-open.
- Welcome progress but speaking to members – they had banked 17 May but what really wondering what 21 June looks like, particularly social distancing and potential role of Covid Status Certificates. Need some certainty. Should get direction of travel, formal reviews due to report on 14 June.
- On the Queens Speech, three key takeaways for business –
- 1. 'levelling up' - golden thread running through the bills – particularly on skills and further education and also saw further news when it comes to 5G and infrastructure - rail and bus.
- 2. Govt also mooted post-Brexit regulatory reform agenda e.g., state aid, freeports being legislated for, and procurement e.g., ‘Buy British’.
- 3. More when it comes to see 'meat on bones’ of net zero agenda – but still not a tremendous amount of detail yet.
- However, disappointing not to see mention of business rates.
- Anna Leach – the recovery in the UK has been going well and ‘V shaped’ and has surpassed expectation. However, the extent of the recovery has depended on those sectors/industries who were permitted to operate. Manufacturers have recovered their output much earlier than customer-facing sectors - so huge differences in where people are still.
- Consumer confidence is also improving - better than expected performance vaccine roll out, and test and trace impacting economic numbers. The Bank of England have also brought forward the economy to be back at pre-covid levels by the end of this year, too. Now looking at growth of 7% this year in the UK.
- Fiscal stimulus packages, such as the Job Retention Scheme have also boosted confidence in tackling unemployment levels.
- Global growth outlook better than expected too – off the back of better than expected adaption to spending during lockdown, fiscal support in larger economies, and the vaccination roll out particularly in second half of the year.
- In US - economy grew in Q1 due to stimulus checks and improvement in labour market. US outlook now even stronger than pre-pandemic as a result of fiscal stimulus package and also it never really shut down.
- EU is a different picture - growth expected to pick up but expected to disappoint compared to previous predictions. Taking a bit longer to return to pre-covid levels and less generous fiscal support.
- India - sad escalation of covid cases and deaths, but strong growth of 10% this year none the less.
- China - strongly growing economy as first to come through Covid. Growth forecast in excess of 8% this year. Patchy vaccination but good containment/border controls. Commodity prices and activity growing rapidly.
- Guy Dru Drury - Last year, the economy opened rapidly. Jaguar Land Rover managed to continue operations from April 2020 onwards and China managed the covid pandemic pretty well.
- For international businesses like Diageo and others, saw an uptick in their business in China last year as they re-opened about 10 months ago.
- While we have dates in the UK - China doesn't have any dates or ‘roadmaps’ - have been speculating since the beginning of the year. Spending and market have been growing but borders are firmly sealed. Some big global events such as the Winter Olympics in February 2022 and major international conferences such as the CBD COP15 in Kunming.
- Lots of businesses thinking - when can I go to Singapore, HK and not be stuck in quarantine? We've had zero clarity - could end up being a laggard when it opens its borders as it's out of sync with rest of the world. Also only 345m people have been vaccinated – seems high but relative to population is still low! Huge gaps in the roll-out.