Events Weekly Roundup: April 26th - April 28th | IPT

This week we held three virtual events covering topics from recycling to skills, we were fortunate enough to have high profile speakers such as Martin McTague from FSB and Christopher Hayward from the City of London Corporation make contributions for these events.

Helping SME’s Thrive Post-COVID: The Role of Big Business

On Monday 26 April, we hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Helping SME’s Thrive Post-COVID: The Role of Big Business.’ The discussion was chaired by Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair, Select Committee on Petitions and welcomed guest speakers Kevin Craven, Strategic Partnerships Director, Serco plc and Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses. The discussion focused on the role that large businesses and government have in supporting SMEs rebuild as the UK recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Main points raised:

  • 80% of new jobs created after the 2008 financial crisis were established by small businesses and start-ups. SMEs are going to be a huge driving force of the economic recovery from COVID-19. Large businesses and Government have a responsibility to support them as they provide business agility and innovation
  • There is concern that because loan repayments, rents and VAT will all be required in June, many small businesses will struggle with the sudden costs, especially if they are only allowed to reopen in summer due to current government restrictions
  • Sanctions should be considered for large businesses who are consistently poor at paying their suppliers. Many SMEs have failed to remain afloat due to delays in payments along the supply chain. There is hope that the Small Business Commissioner will be given investigative powers to help deal with this issue.

Building a Circular Economy: The Future of Recycling

On Tuesday 27 April, we hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled 'Building a Circular Economy: The Future of Recycling.’ The discussion was chaired by Ruth Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Natural Environment and Air Quality/Vice-Chair, Microplastics APPG and welcomed guest speakers Helen Jordan, Senior Recycling Issues Executive, British Plastics Federation, David Bellamy, Senior Environment Policy Manager, Food and Drink Federation and Dr Jiawei Wang, Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute, Aston University. The discussion focused on how to build a more circular economy approach to waste and materials, and what infrastructure investments will be required to boost recycling and reprocessing in the UK.

Main points raised:

  • Engagement with consumers: highlighted the importance of consumers engaging with any new recycling schemes. Consumers must be included in the vision and long-term goals with a need for Industry and government to incentivise changes to habits and provide better education on.
  • Emphasis on an increase in chemical recycling. This being a more efficient alternative to mechanical recycling as for some plastics this is the only method to break them down fully.
  • The importance of investment in infrastructure to increase domestic recycling throughout the UK

Accessing Skilled Workers: The Future of Professional Visas

On Wednesday 28 April, we hosted a virtual event in collaboration with the City of London Corporation entitled ‘Accessing Skilled Workers: The Future of Professional Visas.’ The discussion was chaired by Adam Afriyie MP, Vice-Chair, Immigration Law and Policy All-Party Group and welcomed guest speakers Christopher Hayward, Deputy Chairman of Policy, City of London Corporation and Jess Houlgrave, Chief of Staff, Checkout.com. The discussion focused on how the UK labour market is adjusting to the new migration regime and how systems can be improved to make the UK an attractive destination for skilled worker investment.

Main points raised:

  • Visa application processes are currently very costly and inefficient. An open and straightforward system is essential if the UK wants to remain an economic hub
  • Key sectors including FinTech, professional services and the cultural sector require freedom of movement and talent to be sourced from around the globe. They will be huge drivers for growth as we recover from COVID-19
  • There is a need to prevent the increasing view overseas that migrants are not welcome in the UK. More positive narratives need to be told on how migrants contribute to the UK, to ensure not only the policy is right but that the UK is presented as a choice place for migration
  • What advantages could a points-based unsponsored talent route bring? Suggestion that visas could be appointed through a job offer, qualifications, high demand skills or sponsorship by a relevant professional body or trade association rather than a specific job offer.

Click here to see our forthcoming events programme.