The Week In Policy 31st May - 4th June 2021
With Parliament in recess, and the bank holiday saving us from Monday, this week was a much welcomed quiet one for policy. However, the dizzying merry-go-round of coronavirus news this week saw a victory on Tuesday with zero reported COVID-19 deaths, a call by U.S. medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci to further investigate the mysterious bat-cave related origin story of the virus (good thinking Batman), and droves of brave British holiday-goers hurrying home from Portugal following its relegation to amber status. Though not quite the Costa Verde, Cornwall and the Lake District may be host to a few more visitors this summer than usual.
In a win for Global Britain, further Free Trade agreements have been signed with Mexico, Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein, and the IoD issued a Joint Statement with the Japanese Association of Corporate Executives in order to strengthen business relations. We’ll put a good word in for tickets to the Olympics this summer.
- Tuesday marked a significant day, with zero COVID deaths for the first time since the pandemic began.
- The vaccine rollout, which has reached 30-31 year olds, can be thanked for this, and approximately 44% of the UK population has received both doses of the vaccine.
- In another swing of the yo-yo, this renews positivity over the stage 4 milestone on the June 21st following last week’s concerns over the ‘Delta Variant’ (previously the ‘Indian Variant).
- Next week will probably have something different to say, so let’s not jinx it yet.
Raising the Stakes
- Businesses are increasingly thinking about their wider purpose in society with stakeholders and ESG becoming more of a central focus within the corporate world.
- Firms are deciding that actually it isn’t all about the money, and providing a social service is much more important. This view has become much more prevalent as firms have been grappling with the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The IoD is supporting the Better Business Act which is campaigning to place stakeholders at the heart of companies, and amend section 172 of the Companies Act of 2006.
- IoD: 6 in 10 firms believe they should not exist solely to make money | Institute of Directors | IoD
- Most firms think social purpose is just as important as profit | Business | The Times
What a relief
- This week the IoD’s Chief Economist Tej Parikh responded to a government consultation on R&D Tax relief, building on member insight.
- With the goal being to reduce the burden of business tax and tax complexity on SMEs, the consultation response focuses on how the R&D tax system can fuel economic recovery and future productivity growth.
You’re Not Fired!
- Joe Fitzsimons, Senior Policy Advisor, provided the IoD's response to the Flexi-job apprenticeships: reshaping the role of apprenticeship training agencies consultation.
- We welcome the Government’s new ‘Flexi-Job Apprenticeships' in our consultation response, which can support the growth of apprenticeships in some initial sectors and professions where short-term and project-based contracts are the norm.
Week ahead in Policy
It looks like Parliament is getting back to work next week. Important issues to get back to include progress on trade agreements with the rest of the world, though it looks like the US president is still Biden his time. On Tuesday, Westminster will be addressing social distancing restrictions, which will be a welcome debate for businesses desperate to leave their make-shift home offices for the real thing. Finally, as we stagger toward the halfway line of this challenging year, we will be greeted with GDP stats and data on economic activity and social change.
Monday 7th June
- Treasury Committee Oral evidence on the impact of Coronavirus on the Economy.
Tuesday 8th June
- Westminster Hall debates on social distancing restrictions, and the Levelling Up Fund in Wales.
Wednesday 9th June
- Oral Questions on COP26 with topical questions on steps the government is taking to promote climate action and green recovery from COVID-19 ahead of COP26.
- Northern Ireland Affairs Committee oral evidence on Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- International Relations and Defence Committee oral evidence on the UK’s security and trading relationship with China.
Thursday 10th June
- Oral Questions regarding International Trade, and what is being done to secure future Trade Agreements with partners such as the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
Tuesday 8th June
- Mergers and Acquisitions involving UK companies from January to March 2021.
Thursday 10th June
- Economic activity and social change in the UK for June 2021, providing analysis from surveys, data, and experimental methods.
Friday 11th June
- UK trade April 2021 statistics will show total value of UK imports and exports by goods and services.
- GDP monthly estimate for April 2021.