IoD Week in Policy 17 - 21 July 2023

It’s been a bit of a mixed picture this week. A good week to be a Labour MP in Selby or a Conservative MP in Uxbridge, a flexible worker, an inflation-watcher, or an English cricketer. Bad week to be an EU trader, a commuter, or a T-level student. Terrible week for Southern Europe. Great week for parliament, which has packed its bags and left for its summer holidays. As for us, well, busy as usual…

A bit of movement

Finally, a reason for optimism, or at the very least slightly less pessimism. ONS data showed the annual rate of CPI inflation feel from 8.7% in May to 7.9% in June. It’s still high, but the main thing is that the figure is lower than everyone expected. Plus, as our current Policy Voice survey continues to bring in results, we are already seeing how the inflation news on Wednesday is influencing business confidence. If you haven’t filled it out already, there’s still time to share your views.

No movement

On the other hand, the numbers on EU trade aren’t as positive. In fact, the number of businesses claiming that trade with the EU is challenging hasn’t really changed in a year. In an IoD survey, 46% of members agreed the relationship is a challenging one. This figure increases to 59% when removing those who do not trade with the EU. Changes to business mobility is the biggest sticking point. Read the full analysis here.

Question time

 Speaking of figures, we interviewed Richard Thomson, the SNP spokesperson for Business and Trade, as part of our podcast series with senior political figures. Our National Director for Scotland, Catherine McWilliam, asked him about his background, his role in government, his vision for the future of UK business, and how the SNP would address some of the biggest challenges to UK business today. Have a listen here.

A school report

T-Levels, which are technical-based qualifications equivalent to A Levels, have come under the harsh scrutiny of Ofsted. They have produced a report claiming the qualifications have a range of shortcomings. We aren’t too surprised by this assessment – they’re harder than BTECs, there are already massive teacher shortages in further education because pay is poor, and there aren’t enough employers offering industry placements. It looks like T-Levels need some examination themselves into how they are being implemented…

Enacting an act

The Flexible Working Bill has completed its quest through the parliamentary machinery and made it safely out the other side. It will allow employees, from day one, to make two flexible working requests in any 12-month period, and will require employers to respond to requests within two months of receiving them. We wrote a blog on what this will mean for your business, which you can delve into here.

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Finding stability in a changing economy

Browse valuable UK economy resources from the IoD.
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