Weekly Policy Report 19 – 24 February 2023 

We are back after half term and getting through the last days of February, arguably the worst month of the year. Thank goodness it’s a short one. But this means Spring is around the corner (we are ignoring the news about the Beast from the East). And if Spring is around the corner, then so is the Spring Budget, which is one of the biggest things on our mind at the moment.  

Extra credit – We are responding to a government consultation on reforming the R&D tax credit scheme for SMEs. We want to hear directly from any business who has used this scheme. So we have created a short survey where you can do exactly that. Follow this link to contribute.

Labour’s force – This week Sir Keir Starmer gave a speech outlining Labour’s five missions for the future. Claiming he wants to put an end to ‘sticking plaster politics’, he has promised to:

  1. Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7
  2. Make Britain a clean energy superpower
  3. Futureproof the NHS
  4. Make Britain’s streets safe
  5. Break down educational barriers at all stages.

Read more here.

Deal or no deal? – Excitement arose at the prospect of a deal being signed on Tuesday that would fix the Northern Ireland Protocol. But of course there are still sticking points holding it all up. For example, there are those who oppose any checks at all being in place in the Irish Sea. There are also those who don’t think the European Court of Justice should hold any sway in Northern Ireland. This page provides an easy guide to the conundrum.

Lettuce pray – Bad weather in the Mediterranean has resulted in a shortage of salad produce like tomatoes and cucumbers. Good news for those who don’t like to eat their greens (and reds). Really bad news for growers, who have been impacted by higher costs of energy for running their greenhouses, rising shipping prices, and then the hassle of getting it all across the border. Many producers have therefore delayed planting their crops, or planted less, or pulled out altogether.

Policy Voice – We currently have a Policy Voice survey live, which asks for your views on subsidising green industries, the practice of fire and rehire, net zero planning, and economic confidence. If you haven’t already responded, there should be an email waiting for you in your inbox from Friday 17 February. You have until Sunday 26 February to let us know your thoughts on these topics. Last time the results were widely reported in the national press, so your voice will certainly have an impact.

Next week watch out for…

Monday 27 February

  • Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer is expected to give another speech, this time on the economy, as he elaborates on his five missions for the UK.

  • The Bank of England’s executive director for prudential policy Victoria Saporta will deliver a speech on the interaction between financial regulation and competitiveness and growth.

Tuesday 28 February

  • The Institute of Fiscal Studies will publish analysis on the economic outlook, and the choices facing Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of the Spring Budget on 15 March.

Wednesday 1 March

  • We will be publishing our Director’s Economic Confidence Index, which measures business confidence in the UK economy. You can find our last one here.

  • IoD members near Peterborough may be interested in attending an event organised in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and a wide range of business organisations on how to encourage businesses to thrive in 2023, at which our Chief Economist Kitty Ussher is the keynote speaker. You can sign up here.

Thursday 2 March

  • Our Chief Economist, Kitty Ussher is also speaking at an IoD Wales event on the economic outlook for 2023 alongside Huw Pill from the Bank of England, as part of Wales Week. Find out how to attend here.

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