The Week in Policy 24th May 2021
Excitement over Stage 3 of the roadmap has waned in the face of concerns about Stage 4. Though it has been said that the vaccine is effective against the ‘Indian Variant’, questions are increasingly being asked about the state of play come 21st June. Given our track record over the past year, speedbumps were definitely on the cards, and I’m sure a certain ex-chief advisor will have a lot to say on the matter when the time comes. But as the vaccine rollout continues its speedy journey down through the groups, and with businesses quickly adapting to the new working environments, there is still reason to be hopeful.
Virtual Interviews – The Screening Process
- The pandemic has completely transformed the workplace for the British population.
- Talks of hybrid working are intermingled with hotdesking and shared workspaces.
- The next thing to take the virtual plunge will be interviews, with 59% of Directors saying they plan to use online platforms for hiring practices in the long term.
- Senior Policy Advisor Joe Fitzsimons discusses this on Good Morning Scotland - 25/05/2021 - BBC Sounds (Time stamp 1:10:40)
- IoD: Pandemic will lead to long-term shifts in recruitment and workplace practices | Institute of Directors | IoD
Ground Control to Major Dom
- “And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear”
- With the announcement of the Coronavirus inquiry, many people are looking for lessons to be learnt from the past year.
- Fortunately (or unfortunately) we didn’t have to wait too long to find out, before Dominic Cummings launched his attack, outlining a whole host of scathing details, mostly aimed at Matt Hancock and Boris’ girlfriend.
- Since the Barnard Castle incident, his credibility is questionable, but the ordeal made for some excellent soap-opera-esque headlines.
A Mission to Cut Emissions
- This week saw some important wins in our fight against climate change.
- Both Shell and ExxonMobil have promised to adopt a firmer stance on cutting down emissions, an effort spearheaded by shareholders of the companies.
- Tougher scrutiny is being applied to companies as we race to net zero by 2050, and halve emissions by 2030.
- The IoD has launched its new Sustainable Business Hub, which will support directors on the sustainable mission, and continue to raise awareness of the important messages:
- Sustainable Business | IoD
A Beefy Deal
- Since leaving the EU on January 1st, the UK has begun the lengthy process of securing Free Trade agreements across the globe.
- Important handshakes have been made with India, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland.
- The next on the list is Australia, but so far it’s creating more problems than benefits (unless you count the vats of cheaper wine that would be coming our way).
- Concerns that the British farming industry won’t be able to compete with the vast industrialised farms down under have surfaced, along with doubts about how environmentally friendly shipping tons of meat from the other side of the world is.
- Fishing, Beef, Whisky, and Wine – Serving up Free Trade Agreements | Institute of Directors | IoD
- On Wednesday, Switzerland announced it would withdraw from future negotiations with the EU regarding their ‘framework agreement’, meaning their bilateral relationship will begin to erode as EU policy changes, and will not continue to apply to Switzerland.
- A move reminiscent of Brexit, this came after the Swiss claimed EU law was a clear infringement of their sacred and highly democratic canton system.
- Though unclear exactly how business will be affected moving forwards, the Swiss may be joining the UK at the bottom of the Eurovision points table from now on.
Week ahead in Policy
Parliament is in recess until the 7th June, a timely retreat from the onslaught. We are also in recess until the 1st June. But once we’ve all had time to kick our feet up, we can return to the issues at hand. Doubts about the 21st June will have businesses thinking about returning to the office, questioning hiring new recruits, and how best to commit to social distancing if people do decide to make the commute into the office.
Familiar questions remain, such as what will become of vaccine passports, how will local lockdowns work, how much longer will we have to wait before restrictions can ease further, and will rain stop play at the test match on Wednesday?