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What do directors want in 2022?

As part of membership of the Institute of Directors, members are able to provide us with their views on current business issues and challenges in our monthly Policy Voice surveys. Through our constant dialogue with government, we are then able to ensure that those views are heard. Today, we are publishing this short report that summarises what our members are telling us – about how they see their businesses and what they want from government – as we go into 2022.

At a high level we find our members are optimistic about their future prospects: their organisations have plans to grow, and expect revenues to rise in 2022.

The number of organisations who are planning to raise levels of investment is higher than those planning to reduce investment. However, that is not to say there aren’t challenges: costs are also expected to rise particularly fast in the next 12 months.

When asked about the factors that are having a negative impact on their organisation, the UK macroeconomic environment in general, and skills shortages and international trade in particular, are of highest concern to business. General issues relating to tax and regulation come in strongly at second place. The cost of energy, and also the costs of employing people are rising up the risk radar the fastest.

When asked to choose just one thing from a list of alternatives that would improve their business operating environment, similar themes emerge, with ‘new trading relationship with the EU’ and ‘skills shortages’ topping the list, closely followed by ‘UK economic conditions’, and then concerns around tax and regulation.

When invited to give freeform answers to a broad question around what organisations most want to see from government, issues around EU trade, tax, regulation and skills shortages all come to the fore. However, two additional issues were also noticeable from a textual analysis of the responses: a general desire for leadership from government and a specific desire for a well-articulated roadmap to achieve Net Zero, including support for smaller businesses to play their part.

Reflecting these concerns, the IoD will therefore plan its future policy work under the following themes:

  • Rebuilding confidence in trade

The aim of this workstream is to engage with government to help support British exporters to find new opportunities outside of the UK

  • Addressing skills shortages

We will work with our members, government and outside experts in order to make tangible proposals to address labour market gaps in the medium term

  • Overcoming bureaucracy

This workstream looks to reduce the costs of doing business, covering all regulatory issues with a particular focus on the administration of the tax system and the new system of customs control

  • National insurance campaign

The priority of our tax campaigning will be to highlight the difficulties of the proposed rise in National Insurance, which is a particular priority of our members

  • Help to Green

This workstream seeks to explore the tangible ways in which SMEs can be supported to help contribute to the UK’s climate change commitments.

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