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As the UK looks afresh at its post-Brexit international relationships with the EU and the rest of the world, this is the moment for government and business to work in partnership.
While some FTSE firms have made measurable progress when it comes to ethnic diversity in the boardroom, the bottom line is business has to significantly up its game, said CBI Chief UK Policy Officer Mathew Fell. He added:
“Businesses need the same focus on ethnicity diversity as on gender diversity. If they do, then meeting the 2021 target of at least one director from an ethnic minority background is still possible."
Despite the challenges of the last three years, together we have made progress. No deal has been avoided and a year of status quo gives time to shape that new relationship, said CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn. She added:
"Now the real work begins. It’s time to focus on the future and build a new relationship with Europe. "This can reflect our shared values and mutual interest, and support bold global trade ambitions.”
With free movement coming to an end, a new immigration system that is fair and sustainable from day one is as important for many firms as our future trading relationships, said CBI Northern Ireland Director. She added:
“Flexibility will be needed to build a system that lets wages rise where there are shortages while helping businesses to access the skills and labour required."
This solution appears a sensible compromise that gives the UK access to cutting-edge technology, whilst building in appropriate checks and balances around security, said CBI Chief UK Policy Officer Matthew Fell. He added:
“5G is a technology that will transform lives, businesses and reinvigorate the UK’s digital infrastructure. It has the potential to add real economic value to all parts of country and end the digital divide which holds too many rural areas back.”
Reducing the headline salary threshold will be welcomed by businesses, which argued that a £30,000 cap would be damaging, said CBI Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell. He added:
"Yet even with a commitment to world class business training, it remains unclear how firms can hire for mid-skilled roles such as LGV drivers, joiners and lab technicians who don’t meet the £25,600 test."