The Government will work alongside businesses to unleash the potential of our whole nation, while continuing to provide unprecedented support through the coronavirus pandemic, the Business Secretary said today.
In a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) virtual annual conference, Alok Sharma reassured businesses that the government has a long-term plan to build a more resilient and high-skilled UK economy by the end of the decade – underpinned by a focus on the foundations of growth: infrastructure investment, skills, and supporting private sector innovation.
The new growth plan will be published next year and will focus on a more strategic approach to building UK strengths in key growth technologies, supported by smarter business regulation.
The plan will set out how the government will work with local leaders to rebalance the economy by backing our major cities as engines of economic growth and unleashing regional growth clusters in clean energy, advanced manufacturing, cyber security technology, and the life sciences.
Speaking at the virtual event today, The Business Secretary will also thank businesses for the levels of resolve, resilience and community spirit they have shown through this toughest of years.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is expected to said, “As we work with and support you through the pandemic, we will lay the foundations for future growth that will endure long after we have emerged from the shadow of Coronavirus.
“I want you to help me build on those foundations – to work with you as our new plan for growth takes shape in the months ahead and is published in the New Year.
“Creating a more resilient, cleaner, greener economy, in which we have control of our own laws and trading policies. Providing new opportunities for businesses across the UK, and delivering growth and jobs.
“So that a decade from now, when the CBI gathers for its 2030 conference, we will be able to say: ‘We built it together. A revived, rejuvenated, sovereign and technology-leading United Kingdom, with opportunity and prosperity spread equally across our great nation.”
On Saturday evening, the Prime Minister announced further restrictions will be implemented across England, to take action to control the virus and protect the NHS.
This means that from Thursday 5 November, until Wednesday 2 December non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will close, and pubs, bars and restaurants will close, except for takeaway and delivery services. However, people will be able to travel to work, where necessary to allow them to do continue to do their job.
Alongside these restriction measures, the government has announced further support to help businesses and try to protect jobs. These include an extension of the furlough scheme at 80% to protect jobs, grants of up to £3,000 for premises that are forced to close, and £1.1bn for local authorities to enable them to support businesses.
The Government has already:
- Protected almost 10 million jobs through furlough.
- Approved more than a million government-backed loans, to the tune of £62 billion.
- Paid out almost £14 billion in support of around five million self-employed people.
- Cut VAT for the hospitality and tourism sector.
- Waived £10 billion of business rates, supporting close to 400,000 businesses.
- Given £11 billion in grants covering almost 900,000 business properties.
- Brought in a range of regulatory easements to help businesses.
- And just today we have signed up the 10,000th member of our ground-breaking Kick Start Scheme, creating jobs for young people
Together these measures, already in place and those announced by the Prime Minister on Saturday will ensure that our businesses and the economy can remain as resilient as possible through these difficult times.
Looking beyond Covid, this government has been putting in place a range of long-term reforms to create the jobs, businesses and workplaces of tomorrow – championing on clean energy, overhauling technical education, and making the largest investment in infrastructure we’ve ever seen.
In his speech, the Business Secretary will also pay tribute to CBI Director-General Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, who will be stepping down later this month after five years in the role.
Throughout the crisis, the CBI has worked with government to help businesses to become COVID-secure, and deliver the significant support government has made available to help businesses stay afloat during very difficult times.
The Business Secretary will also urge businesses to prepare for the guaranteed set of changes and opportunities our future trading relationship with the EU will bring from 1 January next year.