Three Ways Political Engagement Will Change After COVID-19

Taso Advisory
May Fri, 2020
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Webex meetings instead of ministerial roundtables, Select Committee inquiries by Zoom, and Members of Parliament voting from their smartphones. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how Parliament, politics and government operate. But it isn’t just about practicalities: we take a look at how the relationship between business and government has fundamentally changed.

NEW ECONOMIC RULES

Just over five months ago, Johnson and Corbyn argued about whether the state could afford to pay for free full-fibre broadband for all. The Conservative rebuttal priced this policy at £83 billion over 10 years. The Government’s furlough scheme alone could well cost up to £40 billion over just three months. 

The total cost of the Government’s support package is around £350 billion. The state has taken a completely new role in many citizens’ and businesses’ lives as it is now paying the wages for nearly a quarter of UK jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

The fallout from the pandemic has shattered long held beliefs about what the state can and should pay for.

All of this will be paid for eventually, by both citizens and businesses. Taxes will rise post-recovery, tax breaks may well be cut, and spending - except on the NHS - will reduce. Businesses and representative bodies will need to engage with policy makers to make their case

A CHANGE IN EMPHASIS

But that case will look different now. 

It will be essential for businesses and sectors to describe and quantify their contribution to the post-pandemic recovery. Thinking about some of the questions businesses will be faced with is a good start.

  • What jobs will they create?
  • How will they boost productivity and growth?
  • How will they do that across the whole country, not just in London and the South East? 

The recovery will not be purely financial. We need a societal recovery as well. Businesses must be drivers not only of economic growth and rebuilding, but also of broader social impact. 

The winners will be those that demonstrate value that goes further than their shareholders. How do staff, customers, and wider society benefit from a business or sector’s existence?

It is with this holistic context that businesses will be able to work with the Government to design an environment favourable both for their sustainability and for national recovery. 

AND IT’S NOT JUST THE PANDEMIC

COVID-19 has consumed almost all public and political bandwidth. 

But longstanding issues have not disappeared: Brexit remains. This Government is determined not to extend the transition period, despite delays in negotiations due to the pandemic.

And while the Government’s domestic policy agenda has been paused, it will eventually resume. 

It is essential for businesses to consider how their public affairs activities now will set them up for re-engaging on non-COVID-19 issues in the future. 


Taso Advisory supports clients with the political, policy, and regulatory challenges they face, and helps them to design and deliver credible responses to mitigate risks and seize opportunities. We make complex challenges simple, give actionable advice, and support in delivery. You can find out more about what we do and who we work with.

For a confidential discussion, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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