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Seizing the moment - the role of building societies and mutual values in the journey to a new economy

Originally published in Society Matters magazine.

By Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, CBI

The triple shocks of Brexit, Covid-19 and climate change highlight the need for business and government to design an economic strategy for the next decade.  This article outlines why a dynamic relationship between business, society and government can secure a sustainable, competitive future.

Financial services are the lifeblood of a healthy economy, supporting all other sectors to develop, innovate and grow.  The sector employs over 1.1 million people across the UK, two-thirds of these are outside of London with over £75.6bn in taxes paid last year.

Building societies and the thriving mutual sector are at the heart of financial services delivering for the regions, using innovation and their commitment to mutual values to help transform lives.  From helping people get their first home to saving for retirement, what you do matters.

The sector has played a critical role throughout the coronavirus crisis and we now have a once in a generation opportunity to shape our economic future.

Seize the Moment – an economic strategy for the UK

The CBI’s economic vision – Seize the Moment – sets out the concrete prizes to reach for, and help UK business and our people to prosper towards:

  • A decarbonised economy, winning the global race to net-zero
  • An innovation economy, breakthrough ideas and technologies, adopted by all
  • A globalised economy, making the UK a trading powerhouse
  • A regionally thriving economy, ensuring every region and nation has distinctive global strengths
  • An inclusive economy, where work enables all talent to progress
  • A healthier nation, with health the foundation of wellbeing and economic growth

Within this vision, the financial services sector has a critical enabling role.The CBI has called on government, regulators, and business alike to create a new strategic dialogue on unlocking finance for growth and investment.Co-Chaired by HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the CBI, it will bring together the whole value chain – from hungry investees to provide investors.To succeed, this strategy will need government support, including the creation of a strategic dialogue on Funding our Future.

A vision for the UK economy will set its role on the global stage but makes the most of talent around the UK and its route in local communities.And the role that building societies themselves are playing of building a mutual economy – one which supports local communities to tackle climate change and create greener high streets.The sector will also be crucial in providing the finance for companies to compete on a global stage and also business leaders to provide the partnerships to lead a truly global recovery with a global vaccine rollout and business leading the race to a net zero economy.Truly huge opportunities ahead.

Moving forward

Financial services matter to the whole economy and building societies are playing a critical role in supporting their communities through change as we build back from the pandemic to secure a sustainable, shared future.

The CBI will continue to champion the work of building societies and the financial services sector as a whole to ensure politicians and policymakers know the enabling role the sector can play in securing a new economic vision for the UK

The CBI launched ‘Seize the Moment – An Economic Strategy for the UK’ on 24 May 2021.Find out more at cbi.org.uk

Posted by Katie Wise on 26 July 2021