02 September 2019
In its submission to the Treasury ahead of this week’s Spending Review, the UK’s largest business group says that sorely needed investment – in education and skills, local and digital infrastructure, reaching net-zero and accelerating research and development (R&D) – cannot be put off until after Brexit is resolved. To do so would only add to the uncertainty facing firms, further delaying investment decisions and harming the UK’s competitiveness in the long-run. Now is the time to put the building blocks in place for a comprehensive multi-annual spending review in 2020.
Among other priorities, the CBI is calling on the Government to:
Invest in people and reduce skills gaps
- Restore per pupil funding for colleges and sixth forms to 2011/12 levels in the long-term
- Deliver new T-Levels and following through on the previously committed £38 million by 2020/21
- Maintain the 0.5% rate at which firms pay the Apprenticeship Levy for the duration of this Parliament and publish Levy receipts and expenditure
- Protect per pupil funding for schools in real terms
Boost local transport and infrastructure spending
- Follow through on commitments to deliver crucial large investment projects, including HS2, Crossrail and Northern Powerhouse Rail
- Deliver full fibre connectivity to the last 10% of homes and businesses
Make the UK the world’s leading low carbon and innovative economy
- Encourage the retrofitting of homes, particularly social housing, with energy efficient measures to a C (or better) rating by 2030
- Subsidise the provision of rapid charge points to complete coverage of electric vehicles in the UK
- Protect departmental R&D spending and outline a route to reaching the 2.4% target
- Ensure funding from the European Investment Fund is matched for the next financial year
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:
“For three years, Brexit has consumed everything on the political agenda, leaving much needed reforms and progress on domestic policy stuck on the side lines.
“The UK has the very best potential to become a high skilled, innovative, well-connected and sustainable nation fit to face the opportunities and challenges of the twenty-first century. The Spending Review is the time to put down the markers to make this happen, and put an end to inaction and inertia.
“From investing in young people to meet the opportunities of a modern economy to setting the UK up to be the world’s leading low carbon economy and pushing ahead with major national infrastructure projects, the Review is a golden opportunity to invest in the UK’s future growth.”
Other commitments the CBI wishes to see from the Government include:
- Develop a clear framework for English devolution, with clear guidelines to support new deals
- Plug the gap in trade policy staff within the Trade Policy Group, filling the 135 vacancies by 2020.
- Give the Industrial Strategy Council statutory powers on par with institutions such as the OBR to monitor and assess the government’s industrial policy.