Senior business leaders join forces to create ‘COVID Recovery Commission’

  • The Commission will come together to develop practical policy ideas to drive forward the UK’s economic recovery
  • The Commission will examine the impact of coronavirus on the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda
  • Chancellor and Business Secretary welcome new group which will “help stimulate new thinking to kick start economic growth across the country”


Some of the UK’s most prominent business figures have joined forces to announce the formation of a Covid Recovery Commission, with the aim of providing new ideas to ensure that the UK emerges from the pandemic a stronger and fairer economy.


The Commission, which is independent of government and consists of cross-sectoral industry leaders including FTSE100 chief executives and entrepreneurs, will primarily consider how the pandemic has impacted the ‘levelling up’ agenda. It will consider the role of business and government in delivering the kind of jobs and opportunities that will boost peoples’ life chances.


The aim of the new group is to produce bold and practical policy ideas over the coming months to support higher productivity levels, encourage business investment right across the UK (domestic and foreign) and promote a culture of innovation over the next five years and beyond.

John Allan CBE, Chair of Tesco, Barratt and Imperial College London Council, will Chair the Commission. The other Commissioners are:

Manoj Badale

Co-founder and Joint Managing Partner, Blenheim Chalcot and Chairman of the British Asian Trust

Ruth Cairnie

Chair, Babcock

Ian Funnell

CEO UK and Ireland, Hitachi ABB Power Grids

Chris Grigg

CEO, British Land

John Holland-Kaye

CEO, Heathrow Airport

Nick Jeffery

CEO, Vodafone UK

Tom Keith-Roach

UK President, AstraZeneca

Sinead Lynch

Chair, Shell UK

The Commission has been brought together by WPI Strategy, a political and economics consultancy, which will act as the group’s Secretariat. The economic analysis will be authored by Matthew Oakley, a former Treasury adviser. A separate advisory panel of public policy experts and academics from a range of different sectoral specialisms including public services, technology and clean energy will be established to contribute to the project. The Commission will also consult with existing business groups, think tanks and employee representatives operating in all nations and regions of the UK to ensure the widest range of views contribute to its thinking.


The Commission will focus its work on how the pandemic has impacted:

Assessing the immediate training, employment and wage challenges created by Covid-19 and the impact on local communities.

Assessing what medium-term measures are needed to upgrade the economy post-Covid, focussed on increasing productivity, innovation and business investment across the UK.

Assessing the longer term impact that the pandemic has had on major societal themes including the transitions to the digital economy, the decarbonisation agenda and the future of public service delivery.

John Allan CBE, Chair of the Covid Recovery Commission, said:

“Across the UK, communities, businesses and the public sector have come together during this time of crisis. It is vital that as we rebuild, no place or person is left behind. Our Commission will examine what impact the crisis has had on the levelling up agenda and provide innovative ideas for how to create a stronger and fairer economy. It is time to show that political, business and civic leaders can work together to rebuild a UK where everyone, regardless of background or geography, can have a fairer, more prosperous life.”

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

“Businesses, large and small, have a critical role to play in creating the jobs and opportunities that will help us recover from this pandemic.

I welcome the creation of this Commission and want to thank the business leaders for committing time and energy to help stimulate new thinking as we all push to kick start economic growth across every part of the country.”

Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

Business Secretary

“I look forward to working with the Commissioners on new ideas to boost innovation, productivity and investment across all parts of the UK.”

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

“I welcome the establishment of the Covid Recovery Commission, bringing together key sectors of British business to inject ideas and innovation into our recovery from coronavirus.

As the Prime Minister set out in the New Deal to rebuild Britain, jobs, skills and infrastructure investment will be at the heart of our economic recovery, and businesses in every community across the United Kingdom will have a vital role to play as we level up and build back better.”