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Sir Charlie Mayfield welcomes additional funding for Be the Business

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the funding commitment at the CBI Annual Dinner

Be the Business, a new private sector-led organisation dedicated to improving the UK’s productivity, has welcomed the chancellor’s announcement of an additional £5.6m to improve firm-level productivity.

The additional funding for Be the Business will support programmes aimed at enabling more family businesses and firms in the hospitality sector to become productivity leaders.

The Siemens-led “Made Smarter” initiative, aimed at increasing uptake of digital technology among manufacturing supply chains, also received a further £20m in funding. The announcement comes alongside a call for evidence on how to enable less productive businesses to learn from and catch up with the best.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Annual Dinner, the chancellor said: “Government cannot solve our nation’s productivity challenge on its own – because it is not only about infrastructure and skills, it is also about management.

“Britain of course has many world-leading companies with globally-competitive productivity, but there are also far too many that could be doing a lot better.

“Tomorrow I will publish a call for evidence into why some businesses aren’t keeping up and don’t learn from the best. [It will seek] ideas for how government and industry can work together to help more firms realise their potential by taking best practice.

“And in parallel with the call for evidence I will announce with Greg Clark, the business secretary, further steps to boost firm-level productivity.

“We’ll invest £5.6m to support smaller firms to adapt modern management practices and simple digital technologies, through two new pilot programmes delivered by Charlie Mayfield’s Be the Business.”

Responding to the chancellor’s speech, Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of Be the Business, said: “Closing the UK’s productivity gap is single biggest economic challenge we face. The chancellor is absolutely right to look for ways to make the UK a productivity leader.

“Our productivity has only grown by a tenth of what it should have in the past decade and we have to make up lot of ground in order to catch neighbouring economies like France and Germany.

“A key part of the solution will be in more businesses embracing the practices and approaches that are seen in the best firms. This is absolutely achievable where business owners want to engage to make their firms more competitive.

“Be the Business has been piloting ways to get under the skin of this opportunity. The chancellor’s announcement will enable us to expand our efforts, working with family-run businesses and the hospitality sector to build a new generation of productivity leaders. Alongside Made Smarter, these pilots will enable us to reach many more businesses across the UK.”

Other Be the Business updates

Notes to editors

Be the Business is a new business-led organisation created to close the UK’s productivity gap. Chaired by Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Be the Business is spearheading a campaign to help companies across the UK improve their performance.

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