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Press Releases Policy publications - Productivity & growth

IoD publishes pre-election survey of business leaders

11 Dec 2019

downing street

A poll of over a thousand members of the Institute of Directors has revealed business leaders’ highest priorities for government action after the General Election, with help to prepare for Brexit, support on skills, and investment incentives coming out on top. Overall, the directors surveyed supported an increase in public spending from current levels, although half only wanted a slight increase.

When asked about the effect of nationalising various utilities and industries, a majority of IoD members felt that this would produce negative results in terms of reliability, cost and investment. This included three quarters who thought nationalising broadband networks would be negative. However, better broadband was the top priority in terms of infrastructure, followed by road improvements and expanding renewable energy generation.

Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“By and large, directors agree that the economy needs a shot in the arm, particularly with many firms facing the prospect of Brexit upheaval. Companies have been calling out for infrastructure improvements across the country for a long time, and they will be pleased that this is one area where all the parties appear to agree on the need to raise our game. Broadband, upgrades to transport networks and renewable energy generation are all backed by a majority of our members.

“There is an important note of caution from this survey, however. Of the three-quarters of directors who want to see a spending increase, most want this to be slight rather than significant, so the next government will still have to focus on value for money.

“The next government must work with the private sector to protect and boost the economy. Business leaders are as frustrated as anyone by slow broadband and cancelled trains, but taking whole sectors under state control would consume huge amounts of government time and effort while offering no guarantee of improvements. There are more pressing priorities, particularly in pursuing realistic goals and adequate support for business on Brexit, as well as action on the crucial areas of skill and investment.”

Full survey results:

1008 respondents, conducted between 19-29 November 2019.

Thinking of your primary organisation, which of the following policy areas should be immediate priorities for the new Government?

Preparing/supporting businesses through Brexit

37%

Skills & Training

33%

Incentives for business investment

31%

Reducing the regulatory burden/delaying regulatory changes

31%

Digital infrastructure

30%

Transport infrastructure

30%

Reducing business rates

26%

Lowering taxes on employment

24%

Lowering taxes on business profits

20%

Other

11%

Don't know

0%

 

Relative to current levels do you think government spending over the next parliament should –

Increase significantly

28%

Increase slightly

49%

Stay roughly the same

13%

Decrease slightly

4%

Decrease significantly

4%

Don't know

2%


The Labour Party has proposed bringing broadband networks, the Royal Mail, rail-operating companies, water companies and energy supply networks into public ownership (where these are not already in public ownership). What impact do you think these proposals would have in terms of reliability, cost and investment outcomes?


Very positive

Slightly positive

Neither positive nor negative

Slightly negative

Very negative

Don't know

Broadband

8%

8%

7%

13%

63%

2%

Royal Mail

6%

11%

16%

20%

44%

2%

Train operators

12%

15%

11%

19%

42%

2%

Water companies

10%

15%

15%

17%

41%

2%

National Grid

10%

15%

15%

16%

41%

3%


Thinking of your primary organisation, which of the following areas of infrastructure development should the new Government prioritise?

Broadband networks

59%

Roads, both local and motorways

54%

Renewable energy generation (wind, solar etc.)

53%

Existing rail (intercity and metropolitan)

52%

High-speed rail

18%

Aviation, including new airport runways

15%

Other energy generation

11%

Other

5%

Don't know

1%


Previously published results from the same survey:

If the revised Brexit deal passes Parliament, a new round of negotiations will begin on the future trade and economic arrangements between the EU and UK. Which of the following factors is of most importance to your (primary) organisation with respect to the negotiations?

The terms and content of the final deal

55%

How long it takes for these negotiations to conclude

31%

The future trade and economic relationship between the UK and EU is not relevant/important to my organisation

13%

Don't know

1%

Contact Press Office

Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280


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