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Only half the public thinks businesses make a positive contribution

2 min read

04 September 2014

Just 54 per cent of Britons think businesses make a positive contribution to society, a new YouGov survey for the CBI has found.

The poll coincides with the launch of a new CBI campaign to restore trust in UK Plc.

The CBI’s deputy director-general Katja Hall said: “Even with the economy fizzing with vitality, many people do not believe that business is a force for good.

“Businesses simply can’t operate without their employees and consumers, and part of securing long-term sustainable growth will be about rebuilding public trust in business.

“Let’s be clear, businesses have a lot to be proud of: they support millions of jobs, account for almost a third of total Government tax revenues, spend billions on pension contributions and on training their employees.

“But things don’t always go right – the economic crisis, alongside high-profile industry scandals, have severely dented trust. Unless business can respond to these challenges, it will lose the right to be listened to on the big issues facing our economy and society.”

The campaign will tackle some of the more controversial issues of they day including wages, career progression, diversity, tax contribution, transparency, and company profits.

Among the big names set to contribute to the debate are Barclays chief exec Antony Jenkins, chief executive of E.ON Tony Cocker and Andy Wood, who runs the Adnams brewery. 

“I believe there is a good story to tell, but this will not simply be business blowing its own trumpet. This will be a campaign that acknowledges up front that business doesn’t have all the answers and sometimes gets things wrong,” Hall added.

“Bridging the trust gap will take leadership from the top of businesses, to listen to, acknowledge and learn from the public’s concerns, and react quickly when things go wrong.

“Clearly, this will not happen overnight but together with our members, through the Great Business Debate, the CBI will be working to build a stronger relationship between businesses and the public.”