Addressing productivity, skills and social mobility key to long-term success
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s largest body of management accountants, has released a set of recommendations designed to support the UK Government to navigate challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, aid the country’s economic recovery and build business resilience to future crises.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting, commented:
“We must of course tackle immediate issues such as restoring jobs and increasing consumer spending, but the UK Government must also ensure that its recovery strategy encompasses long-term priorities. This includes putting a greater focus on tackling our faltering productivity, widening skills gap and failing social mobility to deliver a truly inclusive, lasting economic recovery and propel our resilience to the next level. This will be the uphill battle of the UK’s post-lockdown world.”
CIMA is calling for the Government to concentrate on four key areas and provides 20 recommendations:
- Providing businesses and consumers with confidence to invest and do business. Key recommendations relate to temporarily lowering VAT to encourage business and consumer spending; cutting employers’ national insurance bills to help keep people employed and create new jobs; and proactively supporting businesses to seize new opportunities notably through the creation of a Growth Accelerator scheme for SMEs.
- Providing businesses with certainty. Key recommendations pertain to outlining business tax plans for the next two years so companies can make informed investment decisions; pausing plans to implement new business regulations to ensure companies can focus on recovery; supporting businesses to build resilience in their supply chains to weather future shocks; and ensuring free movement of professionals as well as mutual recognition of professional qualifications in future trade deals.
- Creating a more sustainable business environment. Key recommendations include supporting the adoption of integrated reporting for businesses across the UK to better showcase how they create value, beyond financial results, for all stakeholders; reform UK insolvency and administration practices to allow for certain viable businesses to re-structure and survive – this will help secure jobs, ensure creditors are paid, and secure tax revenue; and investing in green infrastructure supporting a net-zero recovery and future business sustainability.
- Investing in skills to help generate economic growth and improve productivity. Key recommendations encompass changing the Apprenticeship Levy to an Apprenticeship and Skills Levy for all workers to ensure businesses have the talent they need to succeed now and in the future; investing towards higher level apprenticeships to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce, meet the demands of the economy and encourage social mobility; and driving regional investments to deliver new skills clusters to kickstart innovation, attract inward investments and drive economic growth.