Weekly policy report 27 February – 3 March 2023

March is finally here, bringing with it the promise of spring and the excitement of an upcoming Budget. The weather may still be frosty, but we have at least seen a significant thawing in the UK’s relationship with the EU.

It’s a deal! – This week, the UK finally came to an agreement on a solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol. From a business perspective, we hope this renewed cooperation will lead to stability and economic growth. Here is our full statement on the announcement.

Moving the dial – Under a policy unveiled on Tuesday, Labour announced that it will require large firms to publish and implement menopause action plans, if the party wins the next general election.

Upwards to March – Our survey data shows that economic confidence is firmly on an upwards march from the depths of a record low over the past few months. But while things are starting to look upwards, those who are pessimistic still outnumber those who are optimistic, as political instability and wider economic conditions still create uncertainties that are affecting sentiment. Read our full analysis here.

Not yet zero – We published new data that shows that over 70% of IoD members do not have plans to achieve net zero by a specific date. However, a clear majority also told us that they would be more inclined to do so if it would reduce their corporation tax bill. We therefore urge the government to leverage this tax scheme to incentivise businesses to reach their carbon goals. Read more here.

Tax credits – We wrote to the Chancellor to urge the government to reverse its decision at the Autumn Statement to reduce the generosity of the R&D tax credit SME scheme, following an IoD survey of members who currently use the scheme. Read more here.

Next week watch out for…

Tuesday 7 March

Wednesday 8 March

  • The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee will be hearing oral evidence for its governance of AI inquiry.
  • IoD chief economist Kitty Ussher is speaking alongside former Treasury minister David Gaulke at a pre-budget briefing hosted by Instinctif and, separately, to the British Retail Consortium Retail Masters leadership programme.

Friday 10 March

  • The ONS will publish its GDP monthly estimate for January.

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