Following CBI calls for additional business support, the government announced new direct cash grants to help small businesses if their area falls under new restrictions to protect public health. The government will need to look at more targeted support in the coming months, including a successor to the furlough scheme and allowing businesses to defer VAT payments from July to September.
The Commission will consider the role of business and government in delivering the kind of jobs and opportunities that will boost peoples’ life chances. The aim of the new group is to produce practical policy ideas to support higher productivity levels, encourage business investment across the UK and promote a culture of innovation.
Following CBI President, Lord Bilimoria calling for widespread testing to help boost economic recovery and build confidence, the Health Secretary announced £500 million funding for instant tests.
The CBI set an agenda ahead of September with calls to build the right environment for enabling a ‘new normal’ when it comes to the return to offices and workplaces. Following the CBI’s intervention, the government published their back to work campaign.
The government has announced improvements to its local lockdown planning, committing to communicating changes and actions during business hours, enabling firms to better prepare. Government will also publish a weekly watchlist of local authorities of greatest concern, as part of a no surprises approach to local lockdowns that enable businesses to plan effectively.
The extension, from 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, recognising the significant halt in progress experienced by housebuilders and construction supply chains during the early months of the pandemic. The announcement followed calls for an extension from the CBI to provide more certainty to the housebuilder market in the short-term and create a higher number of first time buyer homes available under the Help to Buy scheme, allowing builders to catch up on the several weeks of activity lost during coronavirus-enforced shutdowns.
Changes to state aid rules mean that more small businesses can now benefit from loans of up to £5m under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Government expects lenders to make changes in the approvals process. The CBI worked closely with UK officials and industry groups including BVCA, UKF, UK Hospitality and BRC to lobby through Business Europe for the state aid rules to be amended.
The CBI’s clear messaging on the business impact of the 14 day Quarantine policy in public and privately to senior officials and cabinet ministers about policy led to major new exemptions. With quarantining policy now being led by Foreign Office on a country-by-country approach, business and leisure traffic has reopened.
The CBI actively influenced policies which were announced during the Chancellor’s statement. In a letter to the Chancellor, we called for a jobs package, a stamp duty ‘cut’ and the need for an under 25 jobs scheme – all of which were announced in the statement.
The CBI also called for a targeted VAT reduction, which has been reflected in the VAT reduction applied on tourism and hospitality related activities from 20% to 5%. After conversations with the government referencing similar schemes in Austria and Japan, the Eat out to Help out discount scheme was also announced.
£3bn of new investment in green projects is a welcome development, and the CBI called for such investment several weeks ago.
Though engagement across government departments and presenting health and economic evidence, the CBI played its part in the government reducing social distancing measures to help business reopen. With the two-metre social distancing rule in place many smaller businesses especially those in retail and hospitality could not reopen, as a result of our lobbying, more businesses can reopen helping the economic recovery of the UK.
The government has announced that all planning permissions expiring between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will automatically be extended until 1 April 2021. This will be welcome news for many businesses, who have had to urgently review their spending plans due to COVID-19, in order to safeguard their employees and the future of their business. The announcement followed calls from the CBI for an extension to expiring planning permission consent, to give businesses more time to responsibly manage their cashflow and therefore enable investment in projects.
FCA and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) agree to work with industry on a sustainable model of accessing cash. Cash usage has decreased in the last few years and the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this. Preserving access to cash is an essential element of Financial Services infrastructure. The CBI has discussed the importance of access to cash with regulators, government, and members and has pushed for a collaborative approach with industry. This announcement will ensure the framework for access to cash is discussed with industry and local communities.
With businesses keen to support the government COVID-19 response and the economic recovery efforts, the CBI called for the Business Secretary to set up business groups for consultation. Following this, Alok Sharma, announced the creation of five new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. The CBI has been invited to sit on the taskforce on how to accelerate business innovation and adoption across the country.
29 May: Future of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS): through strong engagement with HM Treasury, the CBI was able secure two of business' asks for the future of the JRS - flexibility starting in July (earlier than expected) and that the business contribution builds up gradually to make it easier for businesses to pay. Read our latest update about the scheme.
25 May: Prior to the government publishing guidance for the re-opening of non essential shops, the CBI fed into a consultation which helped shaped the guidance for retailers.
19 May: Large business loan scheme: the CBI lobbied HM Treasury directly to create a new loan scheme for all firms above £45m turnover. Firms below £250m can access £25m in loans, firms above £250m can access £50m. Following additional concerns from business, this has since been extended to maximum loans of £200m. Find out more about the financial support available for business.
13 May: BEIS workplace safety guidance: the CBI consulted on the workplace safety guidance to ensure the measures worked practically for business.
13 May: Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) Guarantee: following the CBI lobbying HM Treasury and BEIS to support industry proposals for a reinsurance backstop for TCI, the government confirms the Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee. This means the TCI will be at affordable levels, supporting the restart for business. Find out more here.
27 April: 'Bounce back' loans for small businesses: the CBI called for an acceleration in support to distressed firms and outlined a comprehensive range of measures aimed to stave off firm closures and job losses. This led to the 100% government guaranteed 'bounce back' loans for under £50k for small businesses. Read more about the measures here.
17 April: Coronavirus Large Business Interruption loan scheme: the CBI lobbied and consulted extensively on the design of the scheme to ensure the medium-sized businesses had access to loans.
15 April: Job Retention Scheme extension: the CBI successfully persuaded HM Treasury to extend the Job Retention Scheme to the end of June to avoid a cliff-edge ending of the support and protect millions of jobs.
As the economy restarts, we want to use this opportunity to not simply build back to normal – but build back better than before. Our national revival plan includes:
• Putting health first: health will remain a driving consideration, so business’ work will be critical
• A unified voice: to ease confusion, UK nations and organisations should speak with one voice
• A new vision: to ensure economic stability in a changed global environment, the UK must focus on driving sustainable growth and tackling regional inequality
• Learn from the crisis and act fast: we will encourage the government to act quickly to find new solutions to age-old challenges, from infrastructure to education
• Backed by immediate action: we will develop, through consultation with our members, practical steps that business and government can take urgently.
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CBI comments on new North East restrictions - 17 September
CBI responds to new employer test guidance - 10 September
CBI responds to the Prime Minister's press conference - 9 September
CBI comments on new direct business grants - 9 September
CBI responds to latest quarantine plans for England - 7 September
Widespread testing has vital role in recovery - 17 August