Businesses have been left “confused and disappointed” as the government has begun to “backtrack” to encourage green growth in the UK, the head of one of the country’s biggest business groups has said.
Confederation of British Industry chief executive Tony Danker said neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss had the same level of interest in what he called the “greatest economic growth prize for the Great Britain”, than their predecessor Boris Johnson.
It came as his organization predicted the UK was already in recession and would continue to ride the recession until the end of next year.
Although long, the recession should be less severe than previous ones, such as in 2008, and even the recession of the early 1990s.
CBI economists predict that from the high point to the low point of the recession, gross domestic product (GDP) will fall by 0.7%.
They believe that GDP will fall by 0.4% in 2023, then return to growth the following year when it will increase by 1.6%.
This is a considerably more positive forecast than that produced by the Bank of England just a month ago.
The Bank had predicted a decline of 1.5% in 2023 and a further decline of 1% in 2024.
The CBI said the bank was working on the assumption that the base interest rate would be higher than its economists had expected.
But the CBI forecast remained grim as it showed the UK was lagging behind many of its international peers.
Mr Danker said the CBI would do more next year to ensure the government pursues green growth.
“I think the big policy lever that’s missing is on green growth,” Danker told reporters.
“I think it’s been a step back from Boris Johnson leaving because I think he was the firm’s personal champion for that.
“When we talk to members – we just consulted them on green growth – I think there is real and widespread concern that this government is backtracking on green growth.
“Given that this is by far the biggest prize for economic growth for Britain competitively in the rest of the world for a whole range of reasons – the government is strangely silent and reluctant on all levers of green growth.
“Through clean energy opportunities, the decarbonisation of other sectors, the role of the City of London in truly being the global capital of sustainable finance.
“In crude terms, most companies think the government is backtracking on the green. After spending the past five years moving significantly forward on the green, they are confused and disappointed and this is going to be a major focus on the work of the CBI in the first quarter of next year.
The CBI said the government should lift its de facto ban on onshore wind in England and make other regulatory changes that could help businesses invest.
The alternative is that productivity remains lackluster and the structural weaknesses that were apparent pre-Covid are still evident in the CBI’s forecast for years to come.
Productivity will remain 2% below its already weak pre-pandemic trend, while business investment will be 9% – or £5bn – below pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 .
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