The Week in Policy 17th May 2021
The comfort of indoor socialising was a well-timed shelter from the relentless bout of bad weather this week. It also marked the next stage of the UK’s economic recovery. But while the British population was eagerly buying rounds, there was a reminder by the Health Secretary of the need to act with caution in the face of the new variant, and chatter about the return of the tier system is very much in the ether. Despite this, the IoD has welcomed the shift from short-term crisis management to long-term economic strategising, which is certainly brightening the light at the end of the tunnel.
Stage Three of the Roadmap – the inside track
- May 17th was a much awaited date in all of our calendars this year, marking the next stage in the easing of restrictions. Directors will now be keen to hear about what will come with the next milestone on the 21st June.
- Brits flocked inside to pubs and restaurants, after months of huddling under outside heaters and umbrellas, with retail sales and consumer confidence rebounding.
- Read the latest government guidance on the new variant here: Government Guidance on COVID-19 Variant | Institute of Directors | IoD
Employment Numbers – a work in progress
- Unemployment rate stood at 4.8% in the three months to March.
- While this figure showed stability, there is need to focus on bolstering re-training initiatives, as many businesses are seeing shortages.
- IoD: Labour market is 'standing firm' | Institute of Directors | IoD
Inflation is up, but we’re not under pressure
- The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 1.5% in the 12 months to April.
- Despite the increase, the IoD’s Chief Economist Tej Parikh claims inflation will tail off when cost pressures and pent-up demand eases in the year ahead.
- Listen to his interview on the BBC’s Wake Up to Money
Next order of businesses secretary
- Together with R3, the trade association for insolvency and restructuring, the IoD wrote a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urging him to work with HMRC to help businesses at risk of collapse.
- R3 President Colin Haig and the IoD’s Jon Geldart outline the steps the government can take to manage the implications of the ‘cliff edge’ at the end of June, when the temporary measures preventing the use of winding up petitions expire.
- HMRC and ministers urged to help companies at risk of failure | Financial Times (ft.com)
Directors’ Briefing – the long and the short of it
- In the latest episode of the IoD’s podcast ‘Director’s Briefing’, Chief Economist Tej Parikh and Senior Policy Advisor Joe Fitzsimons discuss the reopening of the economy and the implications on business and policy.
- The key narrative is the movement from short-term thinking to long-term strategic policy as the economy reopens, which is a welcome transition.
- Take a listen here: Directors' Briefing 20/05/2021
Week ahead in Policy
As we settle into stage three of the roadmap, the week ahead will see the government addressing many of the questions on the minds of directors, especially regarding the post-pandemic economy, future trade agreements, and support for the business community. We may not have answers overnight, but we are well on the way to recovery.
Monday 24th May
- Finance Bill: the final stages will put into law the protective measures set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget.
- All Party Parliamentary Group on sustainable finance will bring together policymakers, academics, and industry experts in order to constructively discuss how the finance sector can contribute to reaching net zero.
Tuesday 25th May
- BEIS oral questions focusing particularly on the Levelling Up Agenda, and the post-pandemic economy.
- HMRC Webinar: Exporting: what you need to do to keep your good moving, 13:45 - 14:45pm
- HMRC Webinar: Customs Imports Declaration: Overview, 11:45-12:45pm
Wednesday 26th May
- International Trade Committee oral evidence on inward Foreign Direct Investment
- International Relations and Defence Committee oral evidence on the UK’s security and trading relationship with China.
- Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee oral evidence – an introductory inquiry into the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- International Trade secretary Liz Truss will talk at the WTO about the UK’s Future Trade Agreements, and its role post-Brexit.
Tuesday 25th May
- Impact of the coronavirus and Brexit on UK trade in goods.
- Understanding the business impacts of local and national restrictions: May 2021 – estimates on topics such as trading status, financial performance and business resilience.
Thursday 27th May
- Business insights and impact on UK economy – May data on financial performance, workforce, prices, trade, and business resilience.