Support, skills and sustainability critical to delivering recovery-focused Scottish Budget

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said:

“CBI Scotland argues that a budget focused on support, skills and sustainability can bolster Scotland’s short and long-term economic prospects. That means protecting the companies that will deliver growth, investing properly in our workforce and building a net zero economy that not only delivers a better environmental future, but an economic one too. Sustainability can be a competitive advantage for Scotland for years to come and deliver a real jobs boost at a time when we need it most.”

24 Jan 2021

CBI comments on Skills for Jobs White Paper

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, said continued partnership between business and education will ensure courses remain in lockstep with industry needs and give learners confidence they are gaining skills that lead to jobs.

“New technologies mean that nine in ten employees will need to learn new skills by 2030. Government commitment to delivering the flexible loan entitlement and boosting access to modular learning is hugely welcome and will support more adults into training. This should be backed up by turning the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy at Budget."

21 Jan 2021

CBI Scotland responds to extension of nationwide lockdown

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said while the extension came as little surprise to business, the economic damage could not be underestimated.

“The Scottish Government must now redouble efforts to get business support to the firms that need it as quickly as possible. Similarly, the UK Government must look at extending the successful Job Retention Scheme to the end of June to protect jobs and livelihoods at risk. And both governments must work together on fuelling the much-needed economic recovery.”

19 Jan 2021

Government must act on Covid business support before Budget

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said:

“The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop, but tail off over time. Just as the lifting of restrictions will be gradual, so must changes to the Government’s sterling support to businesses.”

19 Jan 2021

CBI responds to Supreme Court ruling on business interruption insurance

Flora Hamilton, CBI Financial Services Director, welcomed the much-needed clarity for UK firms. She added:

“At such an uncertain time, this court case provides... relief for smaller firms struggling with cashflow. This is significant news for insurers, and regulators will need to work closely with the industry as policies, products and processes are updated to reflect this ruling.”

15 Jan 2021

CBI comments on closure of travel corridors

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, said while done with the best of intentions the move would undoubtedly come as a further blow to aviation industry, highlighting the need for targeted fiscal support.

“This action also underscores the need for effective vaccines and testing regimes to be rolled out rapidly worldwide. Close coordination with business and further measures to rebuild demand will be essential for reenergising the aviation sector as restrictions begin to lift.”

15 Jan 2021

CBI Wales responds to First Minister's statement on COVID-19 business restrictions

Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said business understands that there can be no return to normal until transmission is significantly curtailed, adding firms across Wales have worked tirelessly to keep their shops, offices and factories Covid secure for customers and employees.

“This latest announcement largely formalises processes that businesses are already doing. Support and advice around implementation, rather than an enforcement-first approach, on issues like ventilation will help to get premises get up to speed as quickly and safely as possible."

15 Jan 2021

CBI comments on November GDP

Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said with the country locked down for virtually all of November, the reduction in economic activity comes as no surprise. He added:

“Getting on top of the pandemic remains key to reigniting the economy. Businesses stand ready to lead the revival and continue to look to the Government to help them through to the recovery phase.”

15 Jan 2021

CBI Scotland responds to latest COVID-19 restrictions on Scottish business

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said businesses have a clear responsibility to help all employees who can work from home to do so. She added that when well organised, click and collect services instinctively feel like a safe way for firms to keep trading.

“It’s really important that the Scottish Government sets out compelling evidence that these services are a source of transmission and provides additional, urgent support to compensate for what would be a further loss of revenue in increasingly challenging times.”

13 Jan 2021

CBI Scotland responds to top-up in grant support for hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said the announcement of a further extension to COVID-19 support grants for the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors is welcome and will undoubtedly help some of Scotland’s hardest-hit firms as they struggle with evaporating demand and day-to-day cashflow challenges.

“There is however no doubt that severe restrictions, while both understandable and necessary, are having a significant impact on jobs and livelihoods across the Scottish economy. After 10 months of adaptation, closure and sacrifice, businesses need to see clear evidence for these decisions.”

11 Jan 2021

CBI comments on Vaccine Delivery Plan

Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director, welcomed the Plan saying rapid roll-out of the programme would be crucial for business survival and getting the economy fully operational.

“Throughout the pandemic, business has stepped up at the service of the nation. It can do so again. The country needs an army of volunteers to deliver the vaccine programme, so where they can, firms should strive to make it easy for staff who wish to help. This won’t always be possible, of course, but businesses should be as accommodating as they can. And flexibility will be key when the time comes for staff to receive the vaccine."

11 Jan 2021

Our response to expansion of asymptomatic testing in England

Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director, said rapid mass testing is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting on top of the virus. The health and safety of staff is paramount for employers, and they would be right behind this initiative. He added:

“This expansion of testing will help more critical workers and those unable to work from home to operate safely, while also catching new cases more swiftly. Ramping up asymptomatic testing to all workplaces will require hand-in-glove partnership between health services, local authorities and businesses in each and every community.”

10 Jan 2021

CBI response to extra business support during third lockdown

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, welcomed swift action from the Chancellor and said direct grants will provide some relief to eligible companies’ cashflow. She added:

“Extending the job retention scheme to end of the second quarter would provide firms with a clear line of sight, aiding planning and investment. And removing the business rate relief cliff edge in April will provide much-needed breathing space, as will re-examining the case for VAT deferrals."

05 Jan 2021

CBI Scotland responds to latest Covid-19 restrictions

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said firms understand that a sharp spike in infection numbers require a swift response to protect public health. But news of a national lockdown will be a severe setback for Scottish companies. She added:

“There’s now an urgent need for existing financial support to be unlocked, so companies can survive the Spring and beyond, and for Holyrood to clarify guidance on what constitutes an essential business."

04 Jan 2021

CBI response to PM statement on increasing covid restrictions

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said it is absolutely essential that we all put the health of our citizens first, and that businesses would continue to step up in the national interest to support the NHS, employees and customers. He added:

"There are now a number of imperatives for government to support business. First, ensuring firms have the cashflow to make it through. Second, the government must review and plug any coverage gaps from existing support. And third, firms must have a clear line of sight and assurance that support will be there for as long as restrictions are in place."

04 Jan 2021

Pragmatism not penalties can help new UK-EU relationship start strongly - CBI

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

“As firms adjust to new processes and procedures, they will be keen to see quick progress on issues outside of the deal to support business. Greater regulatory cooperation on financial services and mutual recognition of professional qualifications, are just two business-critical issues that will make a material difference.”

31 Dec 2020

University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine approved

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

"Approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is hugely positive news, and a real feather in the cap for the UK life sciences sector. It adds another weapon to the UK’s pandemic arsenal, bringing us one step closer to returning to a more normal way of life."

30 Dec 2020

Our response to the UK-Turkey trade deal

Andy Burwell, CBI International Trade Director, said the agreement will maintain bilateral trade worth over £18bn and will shore up key supply chains across many industries after a year of disruption.

“Turkey’s customs union with the EU made a trade deal with the UK complicated, but the pace at which the deal has been finalised following the negotiated EU deal shows the strength and depth of the relationship."

29 Dec 2020

CBI responds as UK and EU agree Brexit deal

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said:

“Above all, we need urgent confirmation of grace periods to smooth the cliff edge on everything from data to rules of origin and we need to ensure we keep goods moving across borders. The UK has a bright future outside the European Union and with a deal secured we can begin our new chapter on firmer ground.”

24 Dec 2020

CBI response to tier 4 announcement

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director said wherever infections rise, it’s right that the Government takes the necessary steps to protect public health but the news was a real kick in the teeth for many businesses already struggling badly. He added:

“Support is there when business premises are forced to close and must reach firms swiftly, along with the recently extended loan and furlough support. But there’s no doubt a fresh look will be needed in January as to how the Government can support UK businesses through to the Spring.”

19 Dec 2020

CBI Northern Ireland responds to announcement of further forthcoming COVID-19 restrictions

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said businesses know infection rates must be controlled to save lives. But the actions of NI Executive in recent months to open and close the economy without a workable long-term strategy for living with the virus will cause companies great harm.

“Against the backdrop of trying to prepare for the end of transition, NI firms are faced with what is effectively a full lockdown at such a crucial time for many businesses – particularly those in the hardest-hit hospitality, retail and tourism sectors. This will come as a further blow after many months of hardship and once again puts further jobs at risk."

17 Dec 2020

New survey shows public back business handling of the pandemic – CBI/Porter Novelli/Opinium

Commenting on the research, Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

“Whether it’s Ventilator Challenge UK producing thousands of critical pieces of kit for the NHS, Lindhurst Engineering getting PPE to frontline workers or Business in the Community mobilising firms to support local communities through the National Business Response Network - 2020 has seen strong partnerships, public and private, deliver enormous benefit for wider society."

17 Dec 2020

CBI responds to extension of furlough and loans schemes

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, welcomed the increased certainty for business. She added:

“Stable employer contributions and an extension to the Job Retention Scheme until the end of April will mean the scheme continues to protect people’s livelihoods. And with cashflow difficulties still at the forefront of the minds of many business owners, continued access to Government-backed loans through to Spring will bring great comfort. In early 2021, businesses will likely need clarity about the level of support beyond the Spring to build a bridge to economic recovery."

17 Dec 2020

CBI Scotland responds to latest Scottish GDP figures

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said with Scotland entering back into a rolling cycle of tiered restrictions in the autumn, we’re likely to see the recovery taking a step back in Q4.

“Hospitality, retail and tourism firms have been amongst the most impacted by the pandemic, and the second hit caused by reintensifying restrictions may prove to be too much for some to bear. Additional support from the UK and Scottish governments – most notably the extension of the Job Retention Scheme – has been welcome. And the recent good news on vaccines gives hope for the future and may give some stimulus to spending."

16 Dec 2020

CBI Wales responds to forthcoming COVID-19 restrictions for December

Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said businesses know infection rates must be controlled to save lives. Nevertheless, invoking what is effectively a full lockdown at such a crucial time for many businesses will come as a fresh blow after many months of hardship and once again puts further jobs at risk.

“It’s vital that any change to rules – anywhere in the UK – is shaped by clear evidence, consistently applied, and accompanied by increased support for businesses in the worst-hit sectors. Vaccinations are now underway and offer tangible reasons for optimism in 2021 – the government must do everything possible to help businesses survive until risks recede and trade returns.”

16 Dec 2020

CBI comments on labour market statistics

Matthew Percival, CBI Director of People and Skills, said while news of a vaccine has provided hope, many firms are still finding it difficult to operate within the toughest Covid restrictions.

“With millions more expected to be living under the toughest tier before the end of the week, the Government must continue to do what it can to help businesses get through winter.”

15 Dec 2020

CBI Scotland responds to latest labour market statistics

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said:

“While news of a vaccine has provided hope, many firms – particularly in the hardest hit hospitality, retail and tourism sectors – are still finding it difficult to operate within the toughest COVID-19 restrictions. That’s why the Scottish and UK governments must continue to do everything they can to support businesses through the winter.”

15 Dec 2020

CBI Wales responds to latest labour market statistics

Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said the figures show how hard businesses and households are being hit by the pandemic, and the rolling cycle of restrictions put in place.

“While news of a vaccine has provided hope, many firms are still finding it difficult to operate within the toughest COVID-19 restrictions. The Welsh and UK governments must continue to do everything they can to support businesses through the winter.”

15 Dec 2020

Our response to the Online Harms Bill

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said the Government’s approach represents a step in the right direction, one that makes the UK a safer place to be online whilst taking a risk-based approach to targeted regulation. He added:

"The UK is showing global leadership in shaping the future of the internet. Regulation can and must play a leading role in tackling online harm, particularly amongst the most vulnerable, and help increase trust in the technology that people use every day."

15 Dec 2020

CBI responds to Energy White Paper and green light for Sizewell C negotiations

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:

"Business stands ready to deliver the investment and innovation needed to turn ambition into reality, and the proposals outlined in the Energy White Paper will give firms further confidence to deliver new infrastructure, including electric vehicle charging, renewable power generation and low-carbon upgrades to people’s homes. The government’s decision to enter into negotiations over Sizewell C and to further develop financing plans for new nuclear is also welcome. "

14 Dec 2020

CBI responds to continuation of UK-EU trade negotiations

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said the news that talks will continue gives hope.

"A deal is both essential and possible. It is the only way to build upon the extensive support for the economy given by all governments during the pandemic. Without it, that progress is undermined. Ongoing delays are frustrating and cost businesses. But it is vital to make use of the time. Government must move with even more determination to avoid the looming cliff edge of January 1st."

13 Dec 2020

CBI comments on UK-EU trade negotiations

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, appeals to politicians on both sides of the Channel to find the path through.

"With less than 3 weeks to go, we also need to plan in parallel for 1st January, deal or no-deal. That means everything from border systems and processes to data adequacy and financial services equivalence. It also means allowing sensible grace periods for businesses to adapt to re-labelling of products and phasing in of border checks."

13 Dec 2020

Investment incentives needed to fast-forward Covid economic recovery

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said Covid-19 has left deep scars on the economy, but this forecast does offer grounds for optimism.

“We simply must find new ways to get businesses investing at the start of 2021 if we are to fast-forward the recovery. We’ve had great news on vaccines this week, but if we are to be masters of our own destiny then we must act decisively to rebuild a better economy.”

10 Dec 2020

CBI Scotland responds to additional COVID-19 business support

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, welcomed the new schemes, saying it's vital details are communicated clearly, that the application process is simple, and that funds reach firms in need as quickly as possible. She added:

“Continuing to ramp-up widespread testing would also help Scotland’s fragile economy to weather the difficult winter ahead. Businesses also want to know that there is a plan in place for after Christmas and that a return to the same cycle of severe restrictions is unlikely.”

09 Dec 2020

CBI Northern Ireland responds to NI Protocol agreement

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said it is now incumbent on both sides to intensify their engagement with Northern Ireland’s business community in the coming months to safeguard firms and consumers. She added:

"Business preparations also depend on a deal being done. While affording some time to adjust is welcome, questions remain on operational readiness and the longer-term impact for supply chains. This starts with turning legal text into practical guidance so firms can act."

09 Dec 2020

CBI responds to sixth carbon budget

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said now is the time for business and government to work together to deliver a transition that will secure economic recovery and sustainable growth.

“We have a short window of opportunity between now and COP26 to set the clear strategy we need to meet net-zero commitments. With that in place, business, government and society stand ready to deliver.”

09 Dec 2020

CBI welcomes publication of new government guidance Construction Playbook

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said the publication of the Construction Playbook marks an important milestone in government’s efforts to overhaul procurement of public sector construction.

“To maximise its impact, the principles and guidance in the Construction Playbook now need to be rolled out across the public sector quickly. Adopting the Playbook’s ‘comply or explain’ principle, all public sector procuring bodies should plan to implement and embed the best practices within the Construction Playbook over the coming months.”

08 Dec 2020

COVID-19 pandemic highlights urgent need to address Scotland’s productivity puzzle and build economic resilience – CBI Scotland/KPMG Productivity Index

Speaking at the launch of the report, Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said:

“By addressing long-term productivity challenges, we can start to build a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 and also look ahead to the kind of economy we want for Scotland. It should be led by high tech, sustainable growth, and green infrastructure with a highly skilled, well-paid and flexible workforce that’s ready to compete with the best.”

08 Dec 2020

CBI responds to announcement of UK’s Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contribution

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said while delivering a 68% reduction in emissions by 2030 undoubtedly represents a real stretch, there is no doubt that business is up for the challenge as we build back better and greener following the pandemic. She added:

"Publishing the forthcoming Energy White Paper as soon as possible, and moving with speed, determination and greater ambition to deliver the policies in the government’s ten-point plan, is essential to our success.”

03 Dec 2020

Fairness and equality can define London's post-Covid economy

Jordan Cummins, CBI London Head of Policy, said while the economy is not out of the woods yet, businesses’ future focus extends beyond just the balance sheet.

“In short, it’s not just about getting things going again; it’s about capitalising on this unique opportunity to rethink how London operates, who for, and to form a new-look business landscape which spreads opportunity more widely."

03 Dec 2020

CBI responds to UK approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for widespread use

Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI President, said the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine represents a major breakthrough in our fightback against COVID-19. He added:

“Given the vaccine rollout will take time, three things are needed now to shore up confidence. Mass, rapid testing must be rolled out as far and wide as possible from the community to workplaces. Meanwhile, to protect people’s jobs, firms need clarity about the level of support through to March and beyond, along with transparent trigger points for exiting higher tiers and a robust, evidence-based approach for ongoing restrictions.”

02 Dec 2020

CBI Wales responds to new hospitality restrictions

Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said want to understand the key data points influencing decisions and to be confident that the severe measures put in place will deliver the desired result. He added:

“For the Welsh hospitality sector to weather the storm, additional business support is absolutely critical. Resources must be made available to firms immediately, with clear information and a designated point of contact created to help them access it. Anything less and it will be last orders for the community pubs, restaurants and cafes that we all value so highly.”

30 Nov 2020

CBI responds to tier decisions in England

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said lessons must be learned from previous local lockdowns. Boundary lines between different tiers need to work on the ground. Trigger points for exiting the higher tiers must be transparent. He added:

“It’s vital that firms receive the financial support they need to make it through to the Spring. Clarity about ongoing employment support, including the Job Retention Bonus, will help protect as many jobs as possible."

26 Nov 2020

CBI responds to Comprehensive Spending Review

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said through his statement, the Chancellor has made some bold autumn decisions to power a Spring recovery. She added:

“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."

25 Nov 2020

CBI responds to Chancellor's plans on job protection and creation

Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director, said as the UK begins to eye a recovery in 2021, attention is rightly turning to how to create new jobs. He added:

“The scarring effects of long-term unemployment are all too real, so the sooner more people can get back into work the better.”

24 Nov 2020

Our response to the PM's lifting lockdown statement

Josh Hardie, CBI Acting Director-General, said while the announcements brought clarity, further commitment to financial support would still be needed for thousands of struggling companies.

“The combined efforts of business, government and society should now focus on helping restrictions ease, not tighten once more. A six-week mass, rapid testing surge could be a game changer. It should be backed with a Christmas that gives much needed family time, while avoiding an economic hangover in January."

23 Nov 2020

A reformed business rates system could play key role in powering a green industrial revolution - CBI/Avison Young

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:

“The upcoming review is a key chance to create a modern, sustainable new system that keeps pace with a changing economy and new technologies. Unlocking widespread business investment can power a UK recovery, create thousands of green jobs and boost productivity post-pandemic.”

23 Nov 2020

CBI NI responds to latest review of Covid-19 restrictions

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said firms understand the importance of bringing infections down. She noted many companies may well need further support if they are to keep their heads above water.

“With the all-important festive trading period already upon us, businesses, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors such as hospitality, retail and tourism have been told continuously that they must endure short-term pain for long-term gain. But yet once again they face this start-stop lockdown approach which is playing havoc with jobs and livelihoods."

19 Nov 2020

CBI NI responds to UK Government plan for a green industrial revolution

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland Director, said the plan represents a clear statement of intent from the UK Government and business in Northern Ireland is fully committed to playing its part. She added:

"The CBI in Northern Ireland is delighted to have already started these conversations with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEARA) and we look forward to participating in their newly established Green Growth forum."

18 Nov 2020

Response to PM green industrial revolution plan

Josh Hardie, Acting CBI Director-General, said gives a springboard to the huge opportunities for UK-wide investment and green jobs that a true low-carbon economy can bring.

“From new wind farms and nuclear power stations, to hubs of low-carbon industry using carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, business investment will be key to making this vision a reality. Now Government and business must join forces to create clear pathways for sectors and communities to decarbonise, making the most of the diverse range of skills and expertise that exist in regions across the country."

18 Nov 2020

Reviving Regions: New approach to levelling-up can enable a sustainable post-Covid rebound

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said the twin threats of Covid-19 and a potential no-deal Brexit have created a devastating and unprecedented economic challenge.

“The Government must prioritise long-term investment in the critical structures, training, and innovation needed to support jobs and quality of life around the UK. This long-overdue levelling-up can lay the foundation for a better, greener and fairer economy for all.”

18 Nov 2020



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