25 November 2020
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:
"Stark forecasts point to tough times ahead. But through his statement, the Chancellor has made some bold autumn decisions to power a Spring recovery.
“The Spending Review lays the foundations for a brighter economic future. A new National Infrastructure Bank, a multi-year settlement on R&D, and a comprehensive plan for creating jobs and renewing skills are just some of the building blocks needed to deliver on this vision. It’s right to take this opportunity to plan for tomorrow.
“But ambition must be matched by action on the ground. The Government’s commitment to build, build, build must be delivered now. This means a clear strategy to upgrade the UK’s infrastructure and publishing the Energy White Paper.
“And there can be no let-up in the support for firms facing new COVID restrictions. Firms need help to survive, then thrive. Business investment and confidence can be the engine of UK growth, creating jobs around the UK.”
“We know just how vital refreshing our ageing infrastructure is to repower the economy, connect more people and create job opportunities across the UK. Putting money into roads, broadband and clean energy will help do just that.
“Most importantly of all, the Government has set out its stall for the long-term by creating a National Infrastructure Bank. With the right remit, the bank has the potential, to crowd in the private finance that will be crucial to delivering these new projects.”
On National Minimum Wage
“Many lower paid workers have been the heroes of the COVID crisis, and business supports government's ambition of ending low pay. But unemployment is rising in lower paying sectors and these increases will be tough for some firms afford, so caution is justified to protect jobs.”
On levelling up
“Local authorities and businesses have been waiting a long time to hear how EU structural funding will be replaced from 1 January. They will be encouraged to see pilot programmes launched for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund alongside the Levelling Up Fund. Both will help deliver improvements in communities across the country.”