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Montevideo, October 1st 2023 - 06:58 UTC



UK's CBI survives, but many questions remain and members holding out

Thursday, June 8th 2023 - 08:59 UTC
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Rain Newton-Smith, its new director general, said the result is “a really strong mandate from our members” Rain Newton-Smith, its new director general, said the result is “a really strong mandate from our members”

The powerful lobby Confederation of British Industry, CBI has won a key confidence vote over its future after members overwhelmingly backed the lobby group following a series of scandals.

The CBI said that 93% of the 371 members who voted backed its plans to reform the organization.

Rain Newton-Smith, its new director general, said the result is “a really strong mandate from our members”. However, some companies such as engineering giant Rolls-Royce said its membership remains suspended.

The CBI held the vote after the Guardian published allegations of sexual misconduct at the group, including two claims of rape which are currently being investigated by the City of London Police.

In response, the CBI set out a number of reforms and asked members to take part in a confidence vote on its future, the result of which was made public on Tuesday afternoon.

It is not clear how much of the organization's entire membership the 371 companies and trade associations who voted represents.

The CBI says on its website that it has 700 member organizations but following the misconduct allegations, firms and associations have left the group.

Meanwhile, some companies like BT, who suspended their membership of the CBI but were eligible to vote, told the BBC they would not take part in the ballot.

The CBI has refused to say how many members it has “due to commercial reasons” but Ms Newton-Smith said the 371 who voted was a “huge proportion of our membership”.

The CBI by its own admission says it will be a smaller organization. It is too soon to say they're in the clear. This is the beginning of their mission to establish trust.

One of the CBI's core functions is to speak with the government on behalf of businesses.

The government paused any activity with the CBI following allegations of sexual misconduct at the group which were revealed in the Guardian newspaper.

Asked whether it would now re-engage with the CBI following the vote, a spokesperson for the Department of Business and Trade said: “While this is a matter for the CBI and their internal processes, we will continue to engage with businesses on a case-by-case basis and business groups where appropriate.”

Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said the business lobby group still faced “a long and tortuous slog back from the brink”, adding it would take time to rebuild confidence.

“It's bought a little of that time today but if it can't win over the government, if it can't find its way back into the room, then it has no real value.”

While the CBI claims to represent 190,000 firms, not all of these are direct members - the number of which is thought to be substantially smaller.

The lobby group works with trade associations which represent thousands of firms, such as the National Farmers' Union which has 50,000 members.

Categories: Economy, International.

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