CBI: government must ‘seize the moment’ and leverage decarbonisation and data industries to transform the economy

Investing in decarbonisation can help the UK transform its economy, the  Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said in a new report calling for government to ‘Seize the Moment’.

In a report the industry group laid out themes for leveraging the UK’s strengths with calls for government action and a pledge for business to respond.

On green technologies it wants government to  “back key technologies with high exporting potential that leverage the UK’s competitive strengths”. That includes

  • Committing seven gigafactories by 2040 to support the electric vehicle market 
  • setting out a clear route to market for hydrogen via new Contract for Difference auctions
  • Setting a new target to reduce consumption emissions 
  • Launching a cross-government Green Procurement Taskforce and mandate minimum standard to use the power of public spending and kick off markets for new green technologies 
  • Implementing a long-term incentive for energy efficiency improvements and mandate that all new domestic boiler installations after 2025 should be part of a hybrid system or ‘hydrogen-ready’

It said business would “Position itself to lead in aspects of the carbon capture, usage and storage value chain, and realise £18bn in additional revenues from higher exports to the EU in electric vehicles and vehicle batteries.

A second theme was innovation, where the CBI want the government to

  • Develop the planned new agency, Advanced Research and Intervention Agency (ARIA),” as a model for high-risk high-reward innovation” based on a principle of partnership with the private sector. 
  • Increase R&D to match OECD levels of investment
  • Build on the National Data Strategy and developing strengths in AI, regulation and digital connectivity, including a digital strategy for SMEs 
  • Scale-up more high-growth, founder-led tech and digital companies, and step-up export growth in areas of competitive strength, such as fintech and genomics. 



It wants the government to leverage “distinctive local strengths and regional comparative advantages, providing clear, unique and robust propositions for investment”. That means fostering new economic clusters that are likely to emerge by 2030, such as those created from the UK’s transition to net-zero. “Cluster development must be business led, rooted in credible business case thinking, and sustained in long-term business and public sector”.

Read the full report