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Policy Voice 2015: a year in review

05 May 2016

January

January’s survey focused on taxation in the run up to the Budget, Google Tax, economics and income, and employing reservists. Members’ top priority if the Chancellor finds some money to spare:

  • 65% want to see taxes like employers national insurance and corporation tax cut;
  • 30% want to see spending on infrastructure increased;
  • 51% saw income inequality as a serious issue, but by more than 3-1 they wanted to improve skills not redistribute income;
  • 67% were optimistic, or very optimistic, about UK economic prospects.

These results were reported by the BBC and the Financial Times.


February

February’s survey addressed the topics of economics and trade, and regulation.

  • 77% of surveyed who export plan to increase their export activity in the next year;
  • 81% of surveyed would support a ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts;
  • 62% rate the complexity of regulation as either quite high or very high;
  • 48% of surveyed expect to see the most growth in Europe over the next 5 years.

March

The March Policy Voice survey sought members’ opinions on board composition and EIS.

  • 56% of respondents have at least one female member on their primary organisation’s board;
  • 25% have at least one member on their primary organisation’s board under the age of 40;
  • 30% have a board-level individual specifically responsible for technology;
  • 66% think the political parties’ discussion of immigration as one of the key issues of the upcoming General Election have been negative;
  • 67% of respondents are aware of the Enterprise Investment Scheme, mainly through their own personal knowledge, via their accountant or word of mouth;
  • 84% think the single most important issue in the upcoming General Election is the economy.

The results have been written up in the report, Opening the Equity Economy. The findings were published in a report in September which was reported in the Sunday Times. Jimmy McLoughlin also wrote op-eds for City AM, CapX and Conservative Home.


April

The April Policy Voice survey focused on the topic of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

  • 61% agree an EU referendum will cause uncertainty for their business – but 51% want a referendum anyway;
  • 58% state business links with the EU are important to their business;
  • 13% see the EU as presenting a viable socio-economic model;
  • 51% would vote to stay in the EU only on the basis of meaningful reform being secured;
  • 65% believe the benefits of the UK remaining a full member of the EU outweigh the negatives;
  • 51% would find British withdrawal from the EU a significant challenge for their business.

The results have been written up in the report, What does business think about the EU, and why? The report was published ahead of party conferences and was written up in the Financial Times and The Telegraph.


May

The May Policy Voice survey addressed the topics of economics, skills, and litigation.

  • 60% of respondents expect UK GDP growth over the next decade will be higher than it has been over the past decade;
  • 67% think greater efforts must be made on curtailing government spending so that we live within our means;
  • 54% of respondents say their company is currently operating below capacity;
  • 65% of respondents would be willing to work with the government in building
    stronger links with the education system;
  • 51% of respondents agree that the EU referendum should be brought forward
    to 2016 to reduce the period of uncertainty.

In May we also carried out a 72 hour snap survey to gauge members’ immediate priorities in the aftermath of the General Election. 46% of IoD members stated infrastructure was their key concern, prompting the October survey on broadband. The findings were reported by the BBC and The Telegraph.


June

The June Policy Voice survey sought members’ opinions on diversity, devolution within the UK, short-termism, and Grexit.

The ability to motivate staff, and having a clear vision are seen as key to effective management;

  • 65% of members support plans to devolve additional powers to cities and
    sub-national regions;
  • 58% support plans to introduce directly elected mayors, in return for local
    authorities receiving additional powers;54% of respondents say their company is currently operating below capacity;

But members worry that devolving tax powers to cities and regions will increase both the amount of tax their business pays 58% and compliance costs 84%.

The risks of short-termism in business: strategic decisions sacrificed for short-term gains 89% and capital misallocated as executives chase returns 60%;

The statistics on devolution were reported exclusively by the Mail on Sunday and have continued to be picked up by news outlets with each new devolution announcement.


July

The July Policy Voice survey addressed the topics of taxation following the July Budget, nuclear, and apprenticeships.

  • 62% of members support plans to devolve additional powers to cities and
    sub-national regions;
  • 75% support plans to introduce directly elected mayors, in return for local
    authorities receiving additional powers;54% of respondents say their company is currently operating below capacity;
  • 78% think nuclear power safe and 81% think UK needs new nuclear power stations;
    authorities receiving additional powers;54% of respondents say their company is currently operating below capacity;
  • 78% evaluate their workforce’s skills to identify employee training needs;
  • 68% have a formal training programme to up-skill their staff.

Key areas for improvement in workforce: attitude communication 68% and meeting deadlines 44%;

Ahead of the Budget, the IoD called on George Osborne to deliver a Budget which boosted business investment in comments on the BBC, Financial Times, City AM and The Telegraph.


September

Following an August break, Policy Voice returned to address the topics of economics and international trade and investment.

  • 70% are optimistic about the UK economy in the coming year;
  • 69% are also optimistic about the prospects for their business;
  • 56% think UK GDP growth in the next decade will be higher than the last 10 years;
  • 82% of members who export trade in the EU, 46% with North America and 43% with Asia;

For IoD exporters, 47% selected the EU as the first place they would turn.


October

The October Policy Voice survey addressed the topic of broadband.

  • 56% of members use broadband for video conferencing and 54% for downloading media files;
  • 57% store their data on owned or leased servers and 30% via the cloud;
  • 60% feel increase in broadband speed would improve competitiveness and 78% their organisation’s productivity;
  • 51%feel faster broadband encourages flexible working opportunities;
  • 49% are satisfied with the overall product or service provided by their broadband provider.

These results will feed into an IoD report on broadband for publication in the first quarter of 2016. The survey also signified that 82% of members polled are satisfied with their Policy Voice experience.


November

BIS’s key areas of responsibility, immigration and late payments were the focus for the November survey.

  • 51% employ people from outside UK, of whom 88% also invest in training British workers;
  • 63% agree that free movement of workers within the EU is beneficial to UK business;
  • 71% cannot find all the skills they need in UK workforce to compete globally;
  • 58% of businesses think migrant workers have made their firm more productive;
  • 68% have experienced late payments, 40% were due to a bureaucratic payments system;

A quarter 26% of those experiencing late payment have had to delay payment to their suppliers in turn.

The IoD’s comments on immigration were reported favourably in the Independent and Simon Walker wrote about the importance of skilled migration for City AM.


December

December’s survey on cybersecurity and data protection rounded off the programme for 2015. The results will feed into an IoD report on cybersecurity for publication in the first quarter of 2016.

  • 55% employ people from outside UK, of whom 88% also invest in training British workers;
  • 26% cannot find all the skills they need in UK workforce to compete globally;
  • 45% of businesses think migrant workers have made their firm more productive;

However 63% agree that free movement of workers within the EU is beneficial to UK business.

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