This week, the CBI launched A better Off Britain, business’ blueprint for raising living standards. It’s an extensive report, highlighting the best of what works and what more businesses can do to create the jobs and wages that will help everyone benefit from growth. Here’s a run-down of the 10 key facts from the report:
2. Working couples spend over a third of their net wages on childcare
The cost of childcare in the UK is high and rising fast. Families where both parents are working spend 33.8% of their net income on childcare, compared to the OECD average of 12.6%. The CBI are asking government to extend the 15 hours free childcare so that it is available to all one and two year olds as well as three and four year olds. This would save a family with a one year old child £3,430.
4. The UK has scope to up its game on productivity
Productivity growth has been exceptionally weak since the crisis. Output per hour is still 16% lower than where it would have been had productivity continued to rise at the same pace as before the crisis. Overall, productivity in the UK also lags behind other countries like the USA and Germany. The CBI is calling on firms to rise to the challenge and work smarter to raise productivity and help drive higher living standards.
6. Better vocational routes to higher skills are needed to help workers get on, and to fill the skill shortages that worry business
The vast majority of the UK’s 2020 workforce have already left school and are working. So businesses will not be able to find all of the higher-level skills that they need only by recruiting young people looking for their first job. The CBI believes that helping workers to get on, and tackling skill shortages has the same solution – higher level vocational education. They believe that we need more vocational routes to higher skills, like apprenticeships, that allow people to earn and learn at the same time. Businesses must work with colleges and universities to create these routes to higher skills.
8. Business has a big role to play in education
Businesses rely on their people for success, and the CBI argue that as a major stakeholder in our schools system, firms should do their bit to help schools to deliver more. This might be delivering work experience, ensuring careers advice matches up to the jobs in demand or giving their time and expertise as school governors. The CBI are also asking firms to support social mobility by opening their doors to talented people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
10. Businesses can help people to build a buffer for a rainy day
As the economy improves, the CBI thinks more should be done to help people to save. They’re asking the government to make schemes simpler but they’re also asking businesses to think about offering a wide range of workplace saving options – like Corporate Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) which deduct regular savings for staff through payroll, or share schemes.
So that do you think? What more could firms do to raise living standards through work? Share your views at @bizdebate #BetteroffBritain
 measured as net household disposable income minus consumption as a percentage of household income