This report was authored by Bim Afolami MP, with contributions from the members of the Unlock Britain Commission. The Unlock Britain Commission was headed by Bim and brought together influential thinkers and practitioners from across all areas of Britain’s economy to consider ways in which we can recover after the economic shock following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Unlock Britain Commission
Bim Afolami MP
Conservative Member of Parliament for Hitchin & Harpenden since 2017. Prior to entering politics Bim worked in the City – first as a corporate lawyer, then as a Senior Executive at HSBC. In Parliament, Bim is the Chair of the APPG on Markets and Financial Services and the APPG on Credit Unions. He is currently Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Work & Pensions Secretary, having previously been PPS to the Secretaries of State for International Development and International Trade. Bim also sits on the advisory board of the Social Market Foundation, on the Programme Committee of the Ditchley Foundation, and in 2018 was named as a Franco British Young Leader by the Franco – British Council.
A chartered accountant, who qualified at KPMG and has been Chief Executive Officer of ASOS since 2015. Nick joined the Company as Chief Financial Officer in 2009 and took the expanded role of Chief Operating Officer in 2014. During his tenure, ASOS has grown both in the UK and around the world. Today, ASOS is one of the leading fashion destinations for 20-somethings globally, trading in almost every country in the world. Before ASOS, Nick was head of finance at Matalan in 1999, later moving into the role of business change and IT director. He joined the Matalan retail board in 2003. In 2005, Nick joined the board of Luminar Entertainment Group as finance director, and became a member of the EU eCommerce Task Force and the Future Fifty Programme Advisory Panel. Nick is also a member of the Retail Sector Council and is a trustee of the ASOS Foundation.
Director of Competition Policy at the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE), where he manages the Center’s work on competition and platform regulation issues in the US and overseas. Sam is also a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, where he was previously Executive Director.
Managing Director of William Davis Homes, a privately owned Housebuilder operating in the East and West Midlands. Founded in 1935, the Company specialises in family housing both for open market sale and the affordable homes sector. Guy has a particular interest in the strategic land and planning.side of the business. He is also closely involved in the Apprenticeship training programme which the Company has provided for over 50 years.
Co-founder of the Octopus Group, which has grown rapidly since its establishment in 2000, building sizeable investment platforms in renewable energy, venture capital, and healthcare infrastructure. Octopus now has more than £9 billion of funds under management. Four years ago, Octopus launched its consumer energy supply business, Octopus Energy, which has scaled quickly to more than 1.5 million customers. In 2017, Chris was named EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year.
Partner at Hanbury Strategy. James is an experienced political analyst and strategist who was previously Head of Analytics at Populus. He is a frequent contributor to the Times Red Box and an Advisory Board Member at the think tank Onward.
Damon de Laszlo
Chairman of Harwin Plc since 1980 which manufactures electronic components and connectors at a site in Portsmouth, with offices in the United States and Singapore. He has been heavily involved in the electronics industry for the past thirty+ years – initially with the CBI Smaller Firms Council – then with ECIF, EECA and INTELLECT – and currently sits on the MakeUK Economic Policy Committee. In 2019 Damon was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Electronics Weekly’s ‘Elektra’ awards.
Dr Gerard Lyons
Chief Economic Strategist at Netwealth and Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange. Dr Gerard Lyons is a leading economist. He is Chief Economic Strategist at Netwealth, Board Director of the Bank of China (UK), a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and sits on the advisory board at Warwick Business School and at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE and Imperial College.
Dame Helena Morrissey
Formerly CEO of Newton Asset Management for fifteen years, taking its assets from £20bn to £50bn; she chaired the Investment Association from 2014-17. She is now a Director of St James’s Place. In 2010, she founded the 30% Club and the representation of women on FTSE350 boards has since risen from less than 10% to over 30%. There are now fourteen 30% Clubs globally. Helena chairs the Diversity Project. She is a Fellow (governor) of Eton College and chairs the business group of the Together campaign, spearheaded by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A founding Partner of Theleme Partners, a London-based global equities investment firm, launched in 2009. John graduated with a Law degree from The London School of Economics before working in equity research at HSBC and then at Deutsche Bank, with a particular focus on financial companies. He then moved into asset management, becoming a Partner at The Children’s Investment Fund.
CEO of Competere since 2016, Shanker is a world leading trade and competition lawyer and economist. He has worked with governments and multi-national companies in over 50 countries on trade, competition and regulatory issues. He is a frequent contributor for the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and The Times.
Former Director of Political Relations at PwC. Anna has a background in public affairs and worked at PwC from 2014 until earlier this year. She has a range of industry experience across professional services, telecommunications, technology and health.
Additional thanks are owed to the following for their assistance on particular aspects:
Samantha Broadfoot QC – Landmark Chambers
Professor Richard Ekins – St John’s College, Oxford University
Dr Anton Howes – Historian in Residence at the Royal Society of Arts
John Myers – Founder, London YIMBY
Lord Hill of Oareford – former European Commissioner and Leader of the House of Lords
Viscount Ridley – author and member of the House of Lords
Angus Walker – Partner, BDB Pitmans LLP
All the individuals listed appear in a personal capacity.
Research and editorial assistance provided by Matthew Cowley