This weekend the UK economy takes a few more important steps towards reopening and rebuilding. And in spite of the human toll the coronavirus has had, so far the public are strikingly optimistic about the future.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, two-thirds of people believe the pandemic will result in improvements in how we work, live and treat each other. The same survey, however, also found that the public expects business to play a role in helping the UK to recover.
As we begin to emerge from the crisis, and discussions turn to how we rebuild our economy, it is critical that we, as business leaders, work hard to restore the economy.
Many businesses have worked night and day to support their employees, customers and communities through these difficult times, but the public are rightly challenging us to do more.
We cannot be passengers on this journey.
We have to demonstrate through action as well as words that the business community as a whole – startups, scale-ups, SMEs and big business – is ready and willing to act as custodians of the economy.
Business will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery in the jobs they provide and wealth they create. We generate profits for shareholders which go into people’s pensions.
And we create flourishing markets, providing our customers with a wide range of goods and services that improve their lives. But the current environment requires more of purposeful businesses like ours, and to thrive will mean doing things differently especially if we are to achieve national ambitions such as becoming net zero by 2050 and creating an economy that works for everyone.
That is why we have joined together today to create the Covid Recovery Commission.
As an independent group of cross-sector business leaders, we will analyse the impact that coronavirus has had on our communities, the business landscape and broader society.
From the ability of someone to start and grow a company and create new jobs, to the impact of Covid on the UK’s efforts to decarbonise. We will work together to produce practical ideas to help ensure that all of the UK is best placed to emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than before we entered it.
This country has been tested over the past few months. We have shown a collective will – as individuals, families, friends and communities – to work together and to look after each other.
For some, 4 July will represent a return to profitable trading, for others, the journey to recovery is just beginning.
We owe it to them and to each other to show that political, business and civic leaders can work together to rebuild a UK where everyone, regardless of background or geography, can have a fairer, more prosperous life.
Covid Recovery Commission signatories:
- John Allan CBE, Chair of Tesco, Barratt and Imperial College London Council
- Manoj Badale, Co-founder and Joint Managing Partner, Blenheim Chalcot and Chairman of the British Asian Trust
- Ruth Cairnie, Chair, Babcock
- Ian Funnell, CEO UK and Ireland, Hitachi ABB Power Grids
- Chris Grigg, CEO, British Land
- John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport
- Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK
- Tom Keith-Roach, UK President, AstraZeneca
- Sinead Lynch, Chair, Shell UK