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Media comment: Building back better requires systemic shifts

5 January 2021

Dear editor, 

We welcome the Chancellor’s £4.6bn new support package to support struggling businesses amid the toughest COVID-19 restrictions since last spring. The UK Government has put a strong emphasis on tackling short-term issues, but is yet to devise a long-term recovery strategy to tackle long-standing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic such as our faltering productivity and widening skills gap. This will likely prove detrimental for businesses, economies and societies in the long-term as we seek to recover from the COVID shock.

To build back better from the pandemic, we must focus on delivering both short-term actions and long-term proposals designed to invest in people, stimulate business innovation and shift to a greener economy. This includes ensuring that we don’t miss the opportunity to reskill and retrain those who are unable to work and receiving furlough payments so they can bring new skills to the workforce when their companies can operate again; introducing a rebuttable right to retrain to empower workers to request further training and development; increasing the number and range of investment opportunities in SMEs for non-specialist investors such as ordinary savers; proactively supporting businesses to seize new opportunities by creating a Growth Accelerator scheme for SMEs; and investing in green infrastructure supporting a net-zero recovery and future business sustainability.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA
Chief Executive — Management Accounting
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants