IPT February Events Roundup | IPT

February 2019 was a particularly busy month for the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT), running a total of eight events. The fact that there were only 20 working days in February – meaning an average on an event per two and a half days – making it all the more impressive.

The topics we covered ranged from digital currencies to modern slavery. Unsurprisingly, Brexit was mentioned a few times as well. Each event was chaired by an MP with expertise in the topic area and relevant representatives from industry and academia as guest speakers.

SMEs and Securing Sustainability

Monday 4 February 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion entitled ‘Sustainable Business: SME’s Role in a Renewable Future’, held in the House of Commons. The event was chaired by Kevin Hollinrake MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He was joined by speakers Jonathan Kini, Chief Executive Officer, Drax Retail and Dr Prasanta Dey, Professor of Operations Management, Aston Business School. The dinner was attended by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as representatives from industry and academia.

During the dinner, attendees discussed:

  • How we can build positive relations between SMEs and government to encourage the use of renewable energy
  • Reviewed the importance for SMEs to switch to a more sustainable future
  • The need for more SMEs to make the switch in the coming years and how the government can encourage this further
  • How Government should look at best practice in an international context in regard to supporting SMEs.

Money and Change

On Tuesday 5 February 2019, the IPT hosted a breakfast meeting between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘The Future of Money: Exploring Digital Currencies’. The discussion was chaired by John Howell OBE MP, Chair, Digital Currencies All-Party Parliamentary Group. Martin Etheridge, Head of Note Operations, Bank of England addressed the meeting where attendees discussed:

  • How cryptocurrencies, whilst having flaws, may have a role to play in our increasingly cashless society
  • How the government should approach industry calls for regulation of the cryptocurrency market
  • The dangers of a completely anonymous means of transferring money across borders, including the risk of allowing terrorist financing and money laundering.

Cyber Security Skills

On Tuesday 05 February 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Cyber Security Skills: Tapping into the UK Talent Pool’. The discussion was chaired by Johnny Mercer MP and welcomed guest speakers Ruth Davis, Head of Commercial Strategy and Public Policy at BT Security, Dr Dan Prince, Associate Director for Security and Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security at the University of Lancaster, and Ollie Whitehouse, Global Chief Technology Officer at NCC Group. The discussion focused on the growing challenge posed by the shortage of skills in the cyber security industry facing both public and private sectors.

During the event attendees:

  • Reviewed how industry can address the cyber security skills shortage including the process of recruiting and reskilling employees
  • Highlighted the importance of social mobility within the Cyber Security field and attracting a workforce from a range of ethnicities, gender and backgrounds
  • Emphasised the value of increasing awareness of non-technical jobs within the industry.

Investing Inwards

On Monday 11 February 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘Financing the Future: Examining Investment in the UK’. The discussion was chaired by Faisal Rashid MP and welcomed guest speakers John Palmer, Managing Director, Boeing Commercial Air Services Limited, and Dr James Harrison, Associate Professor, School of Law & the Centre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick. The discussion focused on how the UK can promote inward direct investment post-Brexit and how this could shape trade policy.

During the event attendees:

  • Reviewed how investment is currently dealt with in the EU’s trade agreements, including in terms of both investment liberalisation and investment protection
  • Discussed the impact of Brexit on investment decisions and the key sectors of priority when promoting future inward investment
  • Highlighted the importance of local regional development when attracting future investment.

Eradicating Exploitation in Supply Chains

On Tuesday 12 February 2019, theIPT hosted a breakfast meeting between parliamentarians and industry representatives on the subject of ‘Ethical Business: Tackling Modern Slavery’. The discussion was Chaired by Simon Hoare MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Sajid Javid MP as Home Secretary and featured guest speakers Alison Scowen, Senior Public Affairs Manager for the Co-operative Group, Chris Blythe OBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Dr Laura Lammasniemi, Assistant Professor in Gender and Law at the University of Warwick.

The discussion focused on the Home Office 2018 Economic and Social Costs of Modern Slavery report and how to progress with legislation tackling modern slavery.

During the event attendees:

  • Considered the important of a cultural shift and an emphasis for business to beyond the letter of the law
  • Explored how to extend the requirement for Slavery Statements to small and medium-sized enterprises and how to support them in understanding their supply chain risks
  • Highlighted the possibility of introducing sanctions and finding the right balance between incentive to comply and enforcement for failure to do so.

Air Time

On Tuesday 12 February 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a dinner Discussion entitled ‘Taking Off: Supporting a Competitive UK Airlines Sector’, held in the House of Commons. The roundtable discussion was chaired by Nigel Evans MP, Vice-Chair, Select Committee on International Trade. He was joined by Shai Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic. The dinner was attended by members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as representatives from industry.

During the dinner, attendees discussed:

  • How the government can help in providing a more seamless experience for passengers at airports
  • The international competition for ‘hub’ airports, and what a third runway at Heathrow could do to cement its position internationally
  • The importance of investment in public transport to support air passenger growth.

Talking About Tech

On Tuesday 26 February 2019, the IPT hosted a dinner discussion between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘What Does Smart Innovation Across UK Industry Look Like?’. The discussion was chaired by Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Science and Technology, and welcomed guest speakers David Plumb, Director of Innovation at University of Warwick, and Robert Cheesewright, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB. The discussion focused on what the future of innovation will look like in the UK.

  • Considered how businesses can be encouraged to adopt new sustainable products and services which are being developed
  • Compared the UK government’s approach to supporting businesses to develop new ideas compared to other countries
  • Highlighted that investment is needed to drive, respond and implement the latest technology across the United Kingdom.

You Gave Me a Bit of a Freight

On Wednesday 27 February 2019, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a breakfast meeting between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled ‘UK Freight Operations Post-Brexit’. The discussion was chaired by Martin Vickers MP, Chair, All-Party Group on Rail, and was joined by speakers Chris Bowlas, Head of Commercial Humber, AB Ports; Heidi Skinner, Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Freight Transport Association and Henk van Klaveren, Head of Public Affairs & PR, Airport Operators Association.

During the breakfast, attendees discussed:

  • The need for clarity by the government on customs arrangements
  • How SMEs could be encouraged to attain Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status
  • How UK exports can be boosted through commercial airline freight.