Building a Better Off Britain

Launching a new report, A better off Britain at its flagship Annual Conference in London, the CBI outlined a package of measures designed to boost living standards, increase personal prosperity and increase pay in a sustainable way.

John Cridland stated that the financial crisis and the slow recovery have hit people’s finances hard. While living standards will gradually improve as the economy does, growth on its own will not be a miracle cure. John pointed out that even before the recession, the income of a child’s parents determined too many of their own life chances.

Key policies to improve living standards include a business-focus on raising productivity to boost pay, improving routes into higher-skilled work and ways for business to help their employees build stronger financial buffers.

To make a short-term difference, the report recommends cutting employee National Insurance and making childcare more affordable for families with young children – costs in the UK are the highest in the western world and often cause families to make decisions that save money in the short-term, but are damaging in future years. Over the longer term, the issue is not raising minimum wages but putting in place the skills and productivity improvements that will enable people to earn more.

John particularly emphasised that the UK needs to face up to changing skills needs, greater global competition and low social mobility which mean for many the pathway to a better life is tough and far from clear.

However, the CBI knows that business wants to help build a more prosperous Britain where everyone has the chance to get on in life. This is the right thing to do to build a stronger and fairer society, and it makes good business and economic sense too.

Business understands its responsibility to society and its role in building prosperity – it is in our interest to have healthy and well-paid consumers and employees.

That’s why a priority for the CBI in 2014 has been the launch of The Great Business Debate: a new campaign to set out facts and combat myths about business; encourage people to give views on where business needs to do more; and offer firms the opportunity to take part in a conversation about what they do and how they do it.

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