U.K. Must Seize Moment to Transform Post-Covid Economy, CBI Says

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The U.K. should seize the opportunity to transform its economy with a series of changes that could be worth 700 billion pounds ($990 billion) in commercial growth over the next decade, according to the country’s biggest business lobby.

In a speech on Monday, Tony Danker, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, will argue that the nation can bounce back from the hit of Brexit and Covid-19 by encouraging decarbonization and innovation, and leveling up its regions.

A failure to make bold changes now “will result in a return to business as usual” and a continuation of “the persistently low productivity and heightened social division that followed the 2008 financial crisis,” Danker will say, according to extracts released by the lobby.

The U.K. economy saw its deepest recession in three centuries as a result of the pandemic, a slump that followed years of uncertainty caused by the decision to leave the European Union. With a recovery now underway, policy makers and analysts are debating how economies around the world can adapt to changes caused by the crisis.

“This country will never have a greater opportunity to transform our economy and society for the better than we have right now,” Danker will say. “This is the moment where we have a genuine chance to make big bets on how the U.K. economy will grow and compete.”

Danker will identify “six prizes” the U.K. can win if it completes the transformation, with an economy that is decarbonized, innovative, globalized, regionally thriving, inclusive and healthier.

The CBI argues that can be achieved through policies such as regulatory reform for investment and innovation and the creation of a new body, co-chaired by the Treasury, the Bank of England and the CBI, to help boost finance for growth and investment. It also suggests a “long-term tax roadmap for the U.K.” that it says will help restore the pandemic-battered public finances.

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