The Institute of Directors has published 14 predictions for 2018 and has warned of "tumultuous" times ahead.
There are a number of significant trends that business leaders need to be aware of this year, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD). The business body, which represents 30,000 UK directors, has compiled a list of 14 predictions to help businesses navigate the choppy waters ahead.
Key forecasts include:
- On the economy : London's economic growth will be weaker than the UK average in 2018, bucking a long-term trend. This will be driven by uncertainty around Brexit, particularly regarding financial services, while strength in manufacturing will boost the regions. The IoD is also predicting that business investment growth will fall short of official forecasts for 2018.
- On the gig economy : There will be further challenges against gig economy platforms from employees and trade unions. Legal disputes have highlighted continued ambiguity around employment status in the UK; the IoD says the Government must provide clarity for businesses moving forward.
- On tax : The Treasury will again attempt to tax the self-employed more like employees. The IoD is predicting that the chancellor will launch a consultation at the Autumn Budget, putting forward several options for reform. The Government will also launch a review of business tax reliefs - but the IoD believes "the Government will, correctly, maintain all significant reliefs in broadly their current form for 2018".
- On telecoms infrastructure : Mobile and broadband data consumption will grow by at least another 30% in 2018. This rise will be driven by video streaming and cloud-based services that will "stretch the UK's telecoms networks to their limits", putting "greater pressure for a more radical intervention by the Government".
- On entrepreneurialism : The UK landscape for entrepreneurship will remain robust in 2018 and the number of companies being formed will continue to rise. The IoD says: "We are confident that UK start-ups are well-placed to take another year of political uncertainty well in their stride."
Edwin Morgan, IoD interim director of policy, said: "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.
"Business leaders are optimists by nature, and while there are challenges to be faced, they have remained remarkably resilient over the last year. By the end of 2018, if decent progress is made in the Brexit talks, companies will hopefully be able to look forward to the coming years with greater clarity and positivity about where the UK is going."