'Building back better with business –  an agenda for government' highlights the willingness of business leaders to support and welcome clear government actions on how businesses can contribute to ‘building back better’.

The post-COVID recovery offers a unique chance for businesses to take a more active and clearer social role, and the government has both the legitimacy and duty to offer guidance. This report sets out what more than 50 business leaders across sectors expressed as priorities which they want to share with government, as well as ways in which they think government could more effectively use its voice, convening power, and resources in order to help to ensure that Britain builds back better after COVID.   

Practical action-based partnerships would aim to make a measurable difference, over a defined period of time on:

  • Levelling up through jobs, stable incomes and re-skilling, where the participation of Trade Unions and civil society would be essential
  • Investing in digital, physical and social infrastructure
  • Achieving Net Zero
  • Improving the tax system
  • Enhancing the value that business brings to society, using government and corporate procurement as levers and again the participation of civil society would be essential.

The report arose from a meeting of business leaders convened by the Cabinet Secretary in May 2020, during which several participants argued the government had earned the right to set a new deal between government and business, and that the government now needed to consider what the components of this might look like. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary proposed that the Blavatnik School of Government take forward consultations with those attending the roundtable together with other business leaders to elaborate on their thoughts.

About the authors

Ngaire Woods is Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at the University of Oxford. She is currently Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Frontier Risks, a member of the G20 High-Level Independent Panel on financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and a member of the Trade and Economy Advisory Group of the Department for International Trade.

Richard Collier-Keywood is the Chair of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Chair of Fair4All Finance (the UK financial inclusion organisation funded by dormant assets), the Chair of Big Education and the Chair of New Forest Care (a company that provides bespoke care and education to children with complex needs). He is also a Senior Advisor to DCMS. Previously he was Global Vice-Chairman of PwC.

A full list of the business leaders, organisations and government officials who have helped shape the report is included in the report. Names include Sir Roger Carr (BAE Systems plc), Jeremy Darroch (Sky),  Kelly Devine (Mastercard), Lord Mark Price (former Minister of Trade and former MD of Waitrose), Joe Garner (Nationwide Building Society).