15 January 2016 12:00
Business and Government must work together in 2016
Business groups have urged the Government to work more closely with businesses in 2016 in order to create the conditions for long-term growth.
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), has called for a "year of action" after what he described as a number of "wasted opportunities" in 2015.
"At the start of 2016, neither ministers nor businesses can afford to be complacent. We may have solid levels of economic growth, but there are many clouds on the horizon that could ultimately push Britain into a new economic storm.
"It's time to get real. The Government has to stop wasting opportunities to radically reshape the UK economy. It must take tough, and sometimes unpopular, decisions in the national interest without falling back on the excuses of consultation, delay and political expediency. There's so much that needs to be done, from infrastructure and tax to skills and export support. 2016 must be a year of action."
Writing in the CBI's Business Voice magazine, Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI (pictured), has also urged the Government to focus on long-term prosperity rather than what she describes as the "short-termism of modern politics". The "pillars of prosperity" she says, are "the right skills and talent, world-class infrastructure, globally competitive tax and regulation, open access to international markets, with business able to make a strong and positive contribution to society".
Success in 2016 depends on business and Government working more closely together, Fairbairn said. "Business and Government will need to collaborate closely to make it work for our young people and for firms - the CBI stands ready to do so. This will be particularly important for smaller scale-up firms, which have been such an important driver of UK growth and have a pressing need for skilled people."
John Allan, National chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has called on businesses to play their part in adapting to change.
"2016 will see the introduction of new policies like the National Living Wage, the small business rollout of the workplace pension, changes to dividend taxation and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. Each of these changes will bring their own challenges and require all businesses to adapt - but they also present opportunities. It's right for businesses to share the fruits of success with their staff, help them save for retirement and invest in training the next generation of employees."
Although some business would struggle to adapt, he said the changes would also "force innovation to improve productivity and find new ways to do business."
Image: CBI on Flickr