Friday, August 14, 2020

Prioritise jobs, training for young to drive UK-wide recovery – CBI

The CBI has laid out a health-first recovery plan that it said would help secure a jobs-rich, fair and sustainable future for the UK economy.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn has praised the way Government, business and unions have worked together during the crisis. She urged the UK Government to continue this collaboration and focus its recovery plans on:

  1. Making job creation, skills training and opportunities, especially for young people, the top priority.

Specific proposals include: transforming Job Centres into new Job & Skills Hubs to help create dynamic, local labour markets; a future skills fund to support areas with high job potential such as digital, low carbon and health; and introducing greater flexibility into the apprenticeship levy to help school and college leavers get into work.

  1. Investing in the green economy to create new jobs, investment and a more sustainable future.

Specific proposals include: a national programme to make every home a green home, starting with social housing; bringing forward funds committed to green infrastructure, like electric vehicle charging points; and accelerating the gigabit broadband roll-out in all parts of the country including rural areas.

  1. And targeted financial support to kick-start consumer demand and unleash UK competitiveness.

Specific proposals include: a time-limited scrappage scheme to incentivise the take up of electric vehicles; extending business rates relief to mid-sized business in all sectors to reduce fixed costs; and an end-to-end review of regulation to accelerate key projects.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, writes:

“The last few months have seen a nation rightly and relentlessly focused on health. That will remain the case for some time. But this must not stop the country from to implementing an ambitious economic recovery plan.

“Amidst all the uncertainty, one thing is clear: the UK will only build back fast and better through a market-driven plan that supports sustainable growth. Dynamic enterprise is the only way to unleash the potential of our country and get ahead.

“A world class test and trace system is the foundation for a UK that is safe to visit, invest in, work and study in. Two other priorities also stand out: jobs, especially for young people; and investment.

“Redundancies will rise fast over the autumn as support schemes, especially the Jobs Retention Scheme, wind down. Past recessions show the impact of joblessness is deeply uneven.

“Without immediate intervention, pre-crisis inequalities across regions, gender and race will worsen. Long term unemployment will leave generational scars. And business investment will need to bounce back fast to create the jobs of the future.

“Time is of the essence. Smart, fast policy is needed now to accelerate the process to minimise the human cost and in particular protect the futures of our young people. Together with our members and in consultation with the unions, the CBI has developed simple, implementable proposals that can be acted on now to create the best possible recovery.”

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