Bishop & Sewell

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is making earnest efforts to give itself a new lease of life, announcing what it has called an “ambitious programme of change”, to increase trust in an organisation that has recently faced fairly shocking misconduct allegations, writes David Little, a partner in our Corporate and Commercial Law team.

For many people – myself included – it has stopped being clear whether the organisation has recently been effective in delivering its purpose. Certainly, its name implied that it was representative of ‘industry’ but what in 2023 does that mean in Britain today?

Speaking as one voice on behalf of the motor industry, retailers, the building sector, or even lawyers is surely a duplication of associations already specialised in advocating their sectors’ specific view to government? The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, British Retail Consortium, British Property Federation or the Law Society surely have first call on Government’s ear that they represent the interest of their members.

Possibly the raison d’etre might have been that the CBI represents the commercial interests of UK Ltd across the global exports market. But practically for an organisation that declared its formal opposition to Brexit even that future role was flawed.

Many commentators believe it would be better if the CBI disbanded. Its reputation is in tatters and its professional purpose questionable.

Some people want it to continue. Simon English, Financial Editor of the Evening Standard revealed the results of a Find Out Now poll: “We asked 6,853 Senior Managers and Decision Makers: To what extent do you know about and understand the role of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)?

“We then asked the 2,187 who are aware of the CBI if it should continue, or be replaced?

“Science and tourism, 53%, was the sector that most wants it replaced. Beauty and wellbeing, 47%, the sector that most wants it to continue.”

Just over one third responding to the poll thought the CBI should continue.

Perhaps most damning of all is Simon English’s conclusion: “The CBI is just fine by hairdressers.”

Contact our Corporate & Commercial team

David Little is a Partner at Bishop & Sewell in our expert Corporate & Commercial team. If you would like to contact him, please quote Ref CB401 on either on either 07968 027343 / 020 7631 4141 or email

The above is accurate as at 05 June 2023. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 5th Jun 2023

David Little

David Little's Blog

Learn more

Mark Chick's Blog<

Mark Chick's Blog

Leasehold information

Learn more

Technical updates

View by