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  • by Trevor Loveday

Big businesses demand "more inclusive" economy from post Covid recovery

Industry chiefs from more than 200 leading UK businesses including five UK water companies, banks, retailers and industrials have called on the government to deliver a Covid-19 recovery plan that builds back a “more inclusive, stronger and more resilient UK economy.”

In an open letter, 206 business leaders have offered support to the government in tackling the present health crisis, and urged prime minister, Boris Johnson, to provide “clear vision for recovery efforts that align with the UK's wider social, environmental and climate goals.”

The letter states: ‘With the UK facing major economic and social concerns including the risk of high unemployment and rising regional inequality, we believe that an ambitious low-carbon growth and environmental improvement agenda can do a lot to address these concerns, as well as make the UK economy better prepared to deal with future shocks such as those related to climate change.

“The current crisis, in moving us all away from business-as-usual, has already created shifts in how we operate, and we believe we must use the recovery to accelerate the transition to net zero. Efforts to rescue and repair the economy in response to the current crisis can and should be aligned with the UK's legislated target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

The letter summarises the signatories aims.

• Drive investment in low carbon innovation, infrastructure and industries, as well as improved resilience to future environmental risks.

This should include a combination of targeted public investment and clear policy signals to support growing private sector investment, such as tax incentives and carbon pricing.

• Focus support on sectors and activities that can best support sustainable growth, increased job creation and accelerate both the recovery and the decarbonisation of the economy. For example, building construction, renovation and energy efficiency, low-carbon power and mobility infrastructure, natural environmental improvements, and innovation to decarbonise hard to abate sectors.

• Include within financial support packages measures to ensure receiving businesses are well managed and their strategies are science based and aligned with national climate goals.

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