CBI Chief Calls for COBR for Action to Tackle Shortages

THE CBI WANTS to see the existing Cabinet Office taskforce upgraded to ‘COBR-level’ to tackle national materials, fuel, energy and labour shortages.

The recovery taskforce could then respond to national shortages by identifying and taking actions to secure the UK’s economic recovery.  CBI says it could act like the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which worked alongside government creating rapid-fire solutions and targeted actions.

Shortages Crisis

Following another week of supply shortages, from labour to CO2 – and now challenges on fuel distribution – the UK’s biggest business group is urging the government to centralise its efforts to tackle these urgent issues.

The CBI praised the creation of a special taskforce to curb driver shortages, supply chain disruption and wider labour concerns under Cabinet Office Minister Stephen Barclay, but said the time had come to elevate both the nature and power of this group.

Materials Costs and Key Shortages

CBI members say producers are now facing rocketing energy prices, labour shortages concerns for three quarters (76%) of businesses affecting market competitiveness and investment and business expansion in the year ahead.

The CBI says the new Taskforce must:

  • Have a remit for immediate intervention
  • Appoint representatives from industry to gather immediate insight and shape policy solutions
  • Continue to be led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with the support of the Prime Minister to make rapid policy shifts and decisions to overcome shortages.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said: “Temporary visas are the only way to alleviate the disruption of shortages in critical skilled parts of the economy in weeks and months instead of years. Getting skills programmes right immediately is key to ensuring that these measures are only needed temporarily. 

“On energy, it’s imperative the Government provides a facility to enable well-capitalised suppliers to absorb new customers, and energy intensive companies, which underpin critical UK supply chains, are well supported throughout the winter.

“Establishing a crisis management Taskforce to move quickly – with both business and government around the table – will ensure Government is far more informed about the nature and scale of the challenges; can formulate responses fast; and is able to get the support of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to take action required. We stand ready to support the Government to do this.”

“But this is as much about opportunity than threat. We can be one of the fastest nations in the world to respond to this global surge in demand. If we can unblock these constraints together, we can race ahead in terms of recovery and growth.”

>>Read more in the news about materials shortages