This year must be a turning point. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite as a nation and agree to transform the UK economy for the decade ahead. COVID-19, our new relationship with the EU, our goal to reach net-zero emissions and the ever-accelerating pace of technological advancement – all demand a far more ambitious and joined-up strategy than the UK has ever produced.
What is ‘Seize the Moment’?
Seize the Moment is the CBI’s new economic strategy for the UK economy. It is the result of months of economic analysis and consultation with hundreds of CBI members. The report identifies six business-led opportunities – prizes – that the UK could capture by 2030, which are worth around £700bn for the UK:
- A decarbonised economy, winning the global race to net-zero
- An innovation economy, breakthrough ideas and technologies, adopted by all
- A globalised economy, making the UK a trading powerhouse
- A regionally thriving economy, ensuring every region and nation has distinctive, global strengths
- An inclusive economy, where work enables all talent to progress
- A healthier nation, with health the foundation of wellbeing and economic growth.
What’s in it for business?
The report also sets out how business can achieve these prizes, including how every firm can accelerate their path to net-zero, adopt new technologies, and export more successfully. How business can at its core enable millions of employees to gain greater resilience, wellbeing and opportunities at work. And how, by pursuing these prizes, businesses can lead a broader transformation that will not only benefit them, but also local communities and our nation as a whole.
The report details tangible benefits for all business, specific firms and sectors operating across these areas, and for society. For example:
- There could be a £180bn uplift in GVA by 2030, driven by health interventions inside and outside the workplace, if we continue harnessing the care shown by employers for their staff during the pandemic
- SMEs could boost export revenues by an additional £20bn in 2030 if they are properly equipped with the know-how to take advantage of overseas opportunities
- A £150bn uplift to GVA by 2030 could be provided by closing future UK skills gaps
- Greater AI diffusion and SME tech adoption could add £38bn and £45bn respectively to UK GVA in 2030
- New sources of regional prosperity could be secured through the several business clusters likely to emerge by 2030 due to the net-zero transition
- The UK could capture £8bn in additional revenues from higher exports of hydrogen electrolyser production to the EU.
What are we calling for?
Neither business, nor government – central, local or devolved – can achieve success in isolation. So, the CBI’s report sets out the partnership required between government and business to realise our ambitions across each of the six prizes.
This includes further recommendations for the UK Government on how it can accelerate its Plan for Growth. These include:
1. Regulatory reform for investment and innovation
Requiring all economic regulators to prioritise investment, innovation and agility as part of their core remits.
2. Globally leading clusters in our regions and nations
Commissioning the CBI to develop coalitions that can scale up economic clusters around the country. And write the playbook for how to build distinctive regional and national comparative advantage.
3. Transformed skills provision for the economy of tomorrow
Making skills more demand-led and accessible to all, and freeing up money trapped in the Apprenticeship Levy so that business can invest in everyone’s lifelong learning.
4. Unlocking finance for growth and investment
Creating a new Strategic Dialogue on Funding our Future, co-chaired by HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the CBI, to bring together the whole value chain – from hungry investees to private investors. This will add the customer viewpoint to the Bank of England’s productive finance workstream, and shape proposals to: unlock more pension funds, patient capital and private sector finance, fostering a cultural change to power growth.
5. A long-term tax roadmap for the UK
Setting out how the tax system will restore the public finances in a way consistent with supporting business investment, the transition to net-zero and the UK's international competitiveness.
The CBI will change too. It will seize the moment to play a far more proactive role in transforming the economy.
Whether on decarbonisation, diversity or levelling up, the CBI will act as a collective engine for the UK realising its full potential. This is not just a report, it’s a movement. The CBI will align its resources behind this strategy and work relentlessly to mobilise and support businesses across the country to put the UK on the path to prosperity.
Let’s seize the moment.