18 January 2018

In 2018, net migration will fall, London’s economic growth will be weaker than the UK average, several major UK companies will appoint employee representatives as board members and there will be more legal challenges against gig economy firms.

Who says so? The Institute of Directors (IoD) in its assessment of significant trends that business leaders need to be aware of in the year ahead.

It also forecasts that, with the rise of flexible working and self-employment continuing to put pressure on the tax system, the Chancellor is likely to take a second stab at levelling the tax playing field by launching a consultation on the issue in his Autumn Budget.

As Edwin Morgan, the IoD's Interim Director of Policy, has pointed out: "2018 will be another big year for business. The ongoing Brexit negotiations will be playing on many business leaders’ minds, but it would be a mistake to think it’s the only show in town."

The Institute's full list of 14 predictions for 2018 can be found at http://bit.ly/2FHKaUJ.

One of its forecasts is that net migration to Britain will fall by at least 50,000, bringing the Government the closest it has come to reaching its stated target ("a reduction to the tens of thousands") since it was first introduced in 2010.

This is not a welcome move, the IoD makes clear, as smaller businesses in particular will find it more difficult to recruit the people they need and, while some will feel pressure to raise wages, others will struggle to cope and will consequently stagnate or downsize.

On a more positive note, the Institute expects to see the first people flying from a reusable suborbital space vehicle which should give a boost to the UK space industry, presently waiting for the Government to press ahead with a spaceport.