G7 and vaccine rollout
Later this week, we will see the political leaders of the G7 gathering in Cornwall for key talks on international tax and trade, technological advances and the climate crisis. No doubt the global COVID-19 pandemic will feature strongly in the conversations too. Global crises undoubtedly require global solutions and, whilst the vaccine roll-out in most developed countries is progressing extremely well with the UK indeed in the vanguard, the situation is somewhat different in many less developed countries across the world. International cooperation is vital if we are to successfully and quickly quell the pandemic, stifle growth of further variants, and protect lives and livelihoods around the globe. That will require G7 leaders to agree a framework for a worldwide programme of vaccine production and rollout. Only a globally-delivered vaccine rollout can halt the spread of troubling new variants and set life back on a more even keel.
Looking at the international travel perspective, it was disappointing - but maybe not completely unexpected - to see a country or two shifting from green to amber or amber to red. Whilst all the media focus has been on Portugal, the reality is that the almost complete absence of international business travel is having a downward impact on trade prospects in many markets - the EU, the USA and further flung markets across Asia. This is particularly for a heavily export dependent region as the West Midlands. A full resumption of international travel – so critical to businesses across our region, both within and beyond the aviation sector – is desperately needed.
Seize the Moment
During late May the CBI launched the Seize the Moment initiative, an economic strategy for the next decade which sets out a series of significant economic prizes which the UK can win through sustained long-term action. Focused around six key strands – decarbonisation, innovation, global trade, thriving regions, inclusion & skills and health – Seize the Moment was positively endorsed by CBI councillors at the Q2 meeting of CBI West Midlands Regional Council. Further details of Seize the Moment can be found on our website. Clearly this is the start of a significant journey, so there is plenty of scope for you to engage in this activity and shape the direction of travel across any or indeed all of the six strands. I would really like your initial feedback on this initiative, so please email me with any thoughts. Alternatively, if you would like a more detailed discussion regarding Seize the Moment please let me know.
We have a number of key events coming up. The Finance Directors Network will be looking at tax; maybe not the most interesting topic, but with the government having unexpectedly had to commit an extra £400bn since March last year due to the pandemic, the role of taxation to put the public finances right will be doubly important. We also have the CBI AGM as well as our Road to Net Zero conference. This latter event will also cover outcomes from the G7 which will have just taken place and will also over the outcome of the Prime Minster's COVID-19 roadmap announcement currently scheduled for 14 June with changes due to come into play a week later on 21 June.