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Confederation of British Industry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Confederation of British Industry
Confederation of British Industry Logo.png
Abbreviation CBI
Formation 1965; 53 years ago (1965)
Legal status Non-profit organisation created by royal charter
Purpose British industry
Region served
United Kingdom
John Allan
Carolyn Fairbairn
Main organ
CBI Council

The Confederation of British Industry is a UK business organisation, which in total speaks for 190,000 businesses,[1] made up of around 1,500 direct and 188,500 indirect members. There are 140 trade associations within the confederation who, alongside those direct members of the CBI, employ 7 million people, about one third of the UK private sector-employed workforce. The National Farmers' Union with its 55,000 members is the largest component of the 188,500 indirect members the CBI claims to speak for. The Country Land and Business association brings another 30,000 indirect members, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed 20,000 indirect members, the Freight Transport Association 13,000, the Federation of Master Builders 9,500 and the Road Haulage Association 8,100.

Members include companies as well as trade association members, from the perspective of their leadership.[2] Described by the Financial Times as "Britain's biggest business lobby group".[3] Incorporated by royal charter[4] its mission is to promote the conditions in which businesses of all sizes and sectors in the UK can compete and prosper for the benefit of all. Its membership includes FTSE 100, mid-caps, SMEs, privately owned businesses, trade associations, universities and other public bodies. The CBI has members in many sectors: agriculture, automotive, aerospace, construction, creative, education, financial services, IT, manufacturing, professional services, retail, transport, tourism and utilities.[5]

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  • Community Transport


Hello, I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to you today. Although I can’t be with you in person, I wanted to support this important conference, and make a contribution through the wonders of modern technology. Living in the area, I have seen firsthand the valuable work done by the community transport sector here in East Sussex. I was pleased recently to visit my local CTA in Newhaven and I would like to thank all of you who give up your precious time to serve your communities on a volunteer basis. The theme of today’s conference is Transport for Life. In my view that means transport that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, both today and in the long-term. It also means transport that helps the community and improves people’s lives – by providing access to jobs and services; by encouraging more active travel choices such as cycling and walking; and by improving accessibility for people who live in socially excluded areas – be that deprived housing estates in our largest cities or isolated rural communities. We made it clear in the Coalition Agreement that we will support sustainable travel initiatives – and that means making our transport systems cleaner and greener. So, for example, we are supporting the development and delivery of low carbon vehicles like electric cars. But we also want to change the way people travel, to connect different travel modes more effectively, to reward greener travel initiatives, and to link transport policy to other local issues like health. Cycling, for example, is not only cheap, but can help tackle rising levels of obesity - with long-term knock on benefits for the NHS So we will support schemes that encourage more cycling – in and around schools, and around important transport hubs like railway stations. Local travel planning and Smarter Travel plans – particularly when they include cycling and walking – will play a larger role in helping people to get fit, and in reducing the travel bills of hard-up families. I should take this opportunity to reinforce our view that local transport plans remain the best way for authorities to plan transport strategy and delivery. We will ensure that funding allocations are available in good time for completion of those plans by next April. Local transport plans efficiently and effectively enable local councils to focus on the main priorities – supporting the economy and securing carbon reductions, but also on road safety, affordability and accessibility, and improving people’s health and well being. I am a passionate believer in localism; having been an East Sussex County Councillor, and Leader of Lewes District Council and indeed a Parish Councillor, the latter for 16 years – though I don’t feel as old as that would imply! That experience has not only made me committed to local government, but has also given me real insight into how the system can be improved. I used to find it deeply frustrating that many of the things we knew we wanted to do were restricted by central Government - or needed Ministerial approval. So in line with the Government’s commitment to localism, my Department is no longer seeking to intervene in the way local authorities review progress against local transport plans. No more obligatory reports or invasive reviews. As far as we are concerned, they will be entirely a matter for the council. Broadly speaking, what we want to do is help councils to prioritise transport schemes that offer the best outcomes to travellers and passengers, taxpayers, businesses and the environment. This desire not to dictate one method over another, but instead allow local people the freedom to make the right decisions for their communities, extends to public transport, which plays such a vital role at local level. You know better than anyone how best to organise community transport – for example using taxi-buses, dial-a-ride minibuses and other solutions. A great example of this is Cuckmere Community Transport, operating in my constituency, which provides bus services to local people – by taking them to the doctor’s, or shopping, for instance, or providing bespoke transport to support local events. It is run on a totally voluntary basis, and the volunteers’ fantastic work was recognised in the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2006. I recently met with the Community Transport Association nationally, which we support with funding and who do a great job in supporting and promoting the community transport sector. I know they would like to see more local authority services tendered together, giving them more of an opportunity to produce more effective, efficient and integrated bids. Community transport could really benefit from this approach: how much more efficient would it be for you to be able to make school runs in the morning and the afternoon, and then operate patient transport services in-between? That is why I wholeheartedly support measures to expand charities and social groups and involve them more in the delivery of public services. And why I think it is important that local authorities open up services to new providers, like charities and social enterprises, so we get more innovation, diversity and responsiveness to public need. I stress, however, that this should not be seen as an opportunity for local authorities to walk away from their responsibilities to ensure the delivery of essential public services, including transport. Of course, buses remain the predominant form of public transport. It is also the form of transport used by those with lower incomes. So it is important for social, economic and environmental reasons that we get more people on buses - and that is what we intend to do. Operators like Brighton and Hove, which will be celebrating its 75th anniversary later this year, are showing the way by working in partnership with the local council to make buses more attractive and reliable through, for instance, the use of real time information at bus stops. This kind of partnership working is exactly the sort of thing we want to encourage across the country. But we also want to get a fairer deal for the taxpayer and a fairer deal for the farepayer. £2.5 billion of public money is spent on buses each year, so it is right that we question whether the bus market is delivering value for money and a good service to passengers. Bus fares increased by 25% above inflation between 1997 and 2009; perhaps unsurprisingly, patronage in England outside London fell by 5% over the same period. At the same time, bus operators are making profits that are on average higher than would be expected in a competitive market (a return on the capital employed of between 12 and 20 per cent versus a cost of that capital of between 8 and 11 per cent). That’s why I welcome the current Competition Commission Inquiry into the local bus market. The Commission is best placed to deal with the difficult questions about the level of competition between bus operators and whether the current regulatory framework for buses is the right one or not. Buses are key to the delivery of properly sustainable local transport. That is why we recently announced another £15 million of government funding for a fleet of low carbon buses, which we estimate will save 50,000 tonnes of CO2 over a 15 year period. Even more importantly, I hope it will drive the market for such buses so they become much more widespread across our country. Railways are also very important, but the cost of the UK’s railways is relatively high - both in historic terms and by comparison with other European networks. So Sir Roy McNulty is carrying out for us a Review of Value for Money on the railways. Perhaps that might help unlock funds for good local rail schemes such as for example the reinstatement of the line between Lewes and Uckfield. We are also consulting on the future of rail franchising policy, as we believe longer franchises could help improve services for rail customers Something that links rail and buses - and something I am keen to see happening more quickly - is the roll-out of smart ticketing. It offers huge potential benefits for passengers, local authorities and operators, which is why the Government has made £10 million of funding available to 9 big cities outside London to encourage this roll-out. And I am very keen to incentivise operators and local authorities to do even more. We underestimate potentially the value of getting ticketing right in terms of securing modal shift. But I will also be challenging the train, bus, cycling and car hire industries to improve facilities for integrated journeys, and to focus more on the whole journey, from end to end. There is a lot of good practice already on integrating the different modes of transport but I would like to see more done. Finally, and perhaps perversely, you might think, I am also very keen to encourage people not to travel! Why? Because we can reduce congestion and overcrowding, and cut transport emissions, by asking people and businesses to question if every journey is really necessary. Imagine the benefits if more people could work from home, say one day in ten, or if more employers helped staff stagger their commutes, and break out of the usual 'nine to five' routine. I was pleased to see my role as Minister for Alternatives to Travel welcomed recently by both the Confederation of British Industry and the Campaign for Better Transport who described it as a "huge step forward". So there we are, it's a bold policy that makes sense – and that is what this Coalition government is all about. More broadly, of course, we also face a huge challenge tackling the debt crisis – the worst in this country’s peacetime history. That means cutting wasteful spending, and getting better value for every pound of investment. Had we not taken action we would, at the end of this Parliament, be spending £70 billion a year on interest payments alone. That is simply completely untenable so we had to take quick action. The way I describe it is like if you are running a car which is dangerously low on oil and if we carry on like that the car would eventually explode. You have to stop the car, top up the oil, give it a service, and put it back on the road. That is what we are doing at the moment to try to make sure we can go forward on a sensible basis. Part of the solution is trusting in localism. That’s why we are devolving power from Central to Local Government, and then on to communities, neighbourhoods and individuals. So local services can be maintained, and local economies can be supported. I certainly don’t underestimate the role that Community transport plays in this process – helping local people and local economies at this difficult time. You have a vital role to play in providing effective transport that contributes to better communities. And I thank every one of you for the difference you are making every day. Thank-you for listening, and I wish you good luck for the rest of your conference.



The CBI works to promote business interests by lobbying and advising governments, networking with other businesses and creating intelligence through analysis of government policies and compilation of statistics, both in the United Kingdom and internationally through their offices in Beijing, Brussels, New Delhi and Washington, D.C.[6]

The organisation is non-partisan and has sought legal advice to ensure neutrality.[7]


The present Director-General is Carolyn Fairbairn who assumed the role in November 2015.

The CBI is governed by its royal charter and by the CBI Council, which is able to delegate many of its roles to the Chairmen's Committee and Board. Final policy positions are mandated by the CBI Chairmen’s Committee, which has a seat for all of the chairs of its regional and national councils and subject-based policy standing committees, Enterprise Forum and Trade Association Council. The Chairmen’s Committee meets 4 times a year following each Standing Committee and Regional Council round.[8]

The CBI's strategic and financial decisions are decided on by the CBI Board, which is chaired by the CBI President and includes the support and guidance of 4 other non-executives. Day-to-day management of the CBI is in the hands of the Director-General supported by a Management Board, made up of a number of CBI directors.[8]

A President's Committee, made up of members, advises the president. The president, with the approval of the Chairmen's Committee (under its delegated powers), appoints the director-general, who is responsible for the management of the CBI.[4]

It has offices based in every region of the UK, including teams in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, along with offices in Washington D.C, New Delhi, Beijing and Brussels.[9] In March 2014 it moved its headquarters from Centre Point, London, to offices in Cannon Place, above Cannon Street railway station in the City of London.[10]


The organisation was formed in 1965 out of a merger of the Federation of British Industries (known as FBI), the British Employers' Confederation and the National Association of British Manufacturers.

The CBI opened an office in Brussels in 1971, to open up opportunities in Europe. International Offices have opened in Washington (2002), Beijing (2005) and New Delhi (2011).


The CBI conducts numerous surveys that are of particular use to its members and stakeholders. Research is available to the relevant sections of its membership. The CBI’s surveys are currently:[11]

  • Industrial Trends
  • Distributive Trends
  • Service Sector
  • Financial Sector
  • SME Trends
  • Investment Intentions

Occasional surveys include:

  • Procurement
  • London Business
  • Education and Skills
  • Absence

CBI policy is decided through consultation with its members – companies from all sectors and sizes of business across the UK are directly involved in the policy-making process. The CBI publishes numerous reports each year on a wide range of issues that of interest and relevance to its members. Recent campaigns include "Future Champions",[12] promoting the contribution and role of mid-sized businesses and "Industrial Futures",[13] looking at how government should intervene in the economy to promote growth. The CBI publishes ‘Business Voice’,[14] a monthly magazine for its membership and ‘Intelligence FIRST’,[15] an occasional publication providing strategic guidance for members on regulatory and economic change.

The Great Business Debate

In September 2014, the CBI started The Great Business Debate campaign aimed at increasing public confidence in business. Survey data found that only around 50% of people in the UK think that business contributes positively to society and the campaign was initiated to play a part in increasing that figure. A website and social media channels have been set up to openly promote the contribution business makes whilst enabling people and organisations to give their opinions on this. It is planned that various events and other occurrences will take place across the UK as part of the campaign.[16]

Scottish independence referendum controversy

In April 2014, the CBI registered with the Electoral Commission as a backer of the campaign against Scottish independence.

As a result, 15 Scottish members (Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, STV, the Law Society of Scotland, Aquamarine Power, Balhousie Care Group and the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt and Glasgow Caledonian) resigned from the organisation, while two others, Robert Gordon University and Dundee University, suspended their membership.

The BBC announced on 24 April that it would also suspend its membership from 30 May until after the referendum on 18 September.[17][18]

On 25 April, the CBI announced it would try to nullify its registration. An Electoral Commission spokesman said: "We have received representations from the CBI to deregister. We are currently considering whether this is possible under the relevant legislation and will make our reasoning public when we have reached a conclusion and informed the CBI of our decision." However, the chairman of Business for Scotland disputed this would be possible: "Our understanding is that the CBI cannot nullify its Electoral Commission registration and must, having been identified as a campaigning organisation, be policed by the Commission during the referendum campaign period, just as we are ourselves will be."[19]

This will complicate the CBI's position on a future European referendum where it will have to transparently show its position is backed by a clear majority of its members both direct and indirect.


Senior personnel

(Correct as of June 2018)[20]

Directors-general since 1965

See also


  1. ^ Owen, Jonathan (9 November 2014). "CBI says wage rises are on the way at last". The Independent. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  2. ^ PETER JENKINS, Industry chooses its leader: Shell executive head of CBI, The Guardian, 4 February 1965
  3. ^ Groom, Brian; Parker, George (16 July 2014). "CBI warns politicians not to rock the boat". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b "CBI - CBI governance". Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  5. ^ "CBI - About the CBI". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  6. ^ "CBI - CBI around the world". Retrieved 2007-06-30.
  7. ^ Pickard, Jim (25 January 2015). "Business fears falling foul of UK lobbying rules before election". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^ "CBI: CBI to move HQ to new offices at Cannon Street". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  11. ^ "CBI - Business surveys". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  12. ^ "CBI - Future Champions". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  13. ^ "CBI - Industrial Policy". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  14. ^ "CBI - Business Voice". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  15. ^ "CBI - Intelligence FIRST". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  16. ^ "The Great Business Debate". The Great Business Debate.
  17. ^ "Scottish independence: More bodies leave CBI over referendum stance". BBC News.
  18. ^ "Scottish independence: BBC suspends its CBI membership". BBC News.
  19. ^ "Scottish independence: CBI reverses referendum stance". BBC News.
  20. ^ "CBI - Meet the senior team". Retrieved 2012-10-15.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 October 2018, at 12:07
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