Press release: Business Secretary leads economic recovery roundtables

Business Secretary Alok Sharma chaired a series of economic recovery roundtables over the last week (10-13 June), bringing together businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and leading academics. Discussions focused on the measures necessary to support economic recovery and ensure we have the right opportunities in place for growth across the country over the next 18 months and beyond.

The organisations that participated in the roundtables are set out below, alongside the questions that participants were asked to address.

The outputs from these roundtables will feed directly into the government’s work on economic recovery. This initiative builds on the close engagement between the UK’s business community, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and across Whitehall as we have responded to the pandemic. In addition to the roundtables listed below, ministers are also engaging with trades unions representatives on these important issues.

BEIS has also been accepting written submissions from other parties and individuals interested in the initiative. If you or your organisation would like to submit your ideas and insights in relation to the below questions, please email

Green recovery

How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions. Roundtable held on 10 June. The participating organisations were:

  • Aldersgate Group
  • Barratt Homes
  • Cambridge Zero
  • Carbon Trust
  • Committee on Climate Change
  • Corporate Leaders Group
  • Energy Systems Catapult
  • Energy UK
  • Grantham Institute for Climate Change
  • Green Finance Institute
  • Green Alliance
  • Humber Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Make UK
  • National Grid
  • Octopus Energy
  • Ofgem
  • PassivSystems
  • Pivot Power
  • Scottish Power
  • Severn Trent
  • Shell UK
  • Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • UK Green Building Council
  • University of Oxford

The questions participants were asked to address included:

  • which areas of infrastructure investment should we prioritise for early action to drive economic recovery and support delivery of net zero and our broader environmental objectives?
  • what action should we take to align investment in the UK and globally with net zero and to protect natural capital?
  • what are the key regulatory barriers weakening incentives to invest in net zero, and how do we address them?
  • how can we more effectively support businesses across the economy in acting to access growing low carbon markets and support delivery of net zero? (e.g. innovation support, advice, regulatory barriers)
  • how can we help the UK’s carbon intensive sectors to transition to low/zero emissions while maintaining competitiveness?
  • what actions should we take to ensure local and regional economies can effectively contribute to the net zero target?

Increasing opportunity

How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships. Roundtable held on 11 June. The participating organisations were:

  • Admiral Group
  • Airbus
  • Blackrock
  • British Chambers of Commerce
  • Cardiff Capital Region
  • CBRE
  • Centre for Cities
  • Deloitte
  • Drax
  • Dynamo North East
  • Facebook
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry
  • Local Enterprise Partnership Network
  • Local Government Association
  • National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise
  • Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  • Pennon Group
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • Social Mobility Commission
  • South Tees Development Company
  • TalkTalk
  • National Institute for Economic & Social Research
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Women on Boards

The questions participants were asked to address included:

  • how can government and businesses work together to identify meaningful opportunities to invest across the whole of the UK?
  • how can government work with business to strengthen local business networks and ecosystems?
  • how can government target skills and employment support to best aid economic recovery and drive progression and productivity?
  • what could be the most impactful priority for business and government to work towards in order to level up given the challenges presented by the current context?

Backing new businesses

To make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business. Roundtable held on 12 June. The participating organisations were:

  • Bought by Many
  • Boxpark
  • Coltraco Ultrasonics Ltd
  • Ecuity Consulting LLP
  • Entrepreneur First
  • Enterprise Nation
  • Evergen Group
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Geovation
  • IAND
  • M Squared Lasers
  • Macro Eagle
  • Marshall Wace
  • McKinsey
  • Plexal
  • Richer Sounds
  • Scale Up Institute
  • Unilink Group

The questions participants were asked to address included:

  • what are the most significant barriers to starting and growing a business in the UK?
  • what are the most critical factors for successfully growing a business in the UK?
  • what specific actions should we take to ensure the UK creates a strong pipeline of investable start-ups that have the potential to grow?
  • what more can be done to encourage businesses to invest in their own success?
  • how can we support businesses through venture capital?

The future of industry

How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development. Roundtable held on 12 June. The participating organisations were:

  • Association of Innovation Research and Technology Organisations
  • AstraZeneca
  • Bosch
  • Bryden Wood
  • BT
  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • CodeBase
  • Google
  • Innovate UK
  • LocalGlobe
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • Ocado
  • ORE Catapult Network
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Public
  • Qinetiq
  • Revolut
  • Rolls-Royce
  • SETSquared Partnership
  • Syncona
  • Teledyne E2V
  • University College London
  • Viscount Ridley

The questions participants were asked to address included:

  • what are the systematic barriers to business innovation?
  • what specific actions would enhance the adoption and diffusion of innovation across the full breadth of UK businesses?
  • what more can government do to enhance access to the finance needed to support innovation?
  • how can government better identify and support the key technological trends that will drive innovation-led growth and productivity in the recovery
  • how can we strengthen the support provided by publicly-funded institutions?

The UK open for business

How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK. Roundtable held on 13 June. The participating organisations were:

  • Adam Smith Institute
  • Airbus
  • Caterpillar
  • Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics
  • CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • GIC
  • Google
  • Griffin Growth
  • Iberdrola / Scottish Power
  • Institute of Directors
  • Lord Mayor of the City of London
  • Marks & Spencer
  • National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • Smith and Nephew
  • Synthomer

The questions participants were asked to address included:

  • what aspects of the UK offer should we focus on enhancing?
  • are there any particular types of investor, project or investment that business and government should prioritise for investment in the UK?
  • what specific approaches would help ‘land’ more investment deals for the UK?
  • how can access to finance support inward investment, and what role can government play in facilitating this?
  • how could we more effectively retain and expand existing UK investors’ presence?