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Struggling CBI to impose 5% fee increase on members

The CBI is urging members to swallow a further rise in fees even as the lobby group battles to regain its former standing among political and business leaders.

Sky News understands that CBI members will be asked at its annual meeting next week to approve a 5% rise in their subscription costs.

It comes less than three months after the organisation – which styles itself as ‘the voice of British business’ – won a lifeline from banks which agreed to provide sufficient funding to avert collapse in the aftermath of a sexual misconduct scandal.

The CBI has been slowly rebuilding its reputation, staging a slimmed-down version of its annual conference last month which featured an address by Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor.

In a circular to members, it said the fee hike was in line with previous years.

However, the group has been slashing costs by axeing a chunk of its workforce and closing most of its overseas offices in an attempt to restore its finances to a more stable footing.

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The crisis which erupted earlier this year, which followed several rape allegations against former employees, triggered an exodus of corporate members including Aviva and John Lewis Partnership.

Tony Danker, its director-general – who was accused of inappropriate behaviour but had nothing to do with the more serious allegations – stepped down in April weeks after being suspended.

The CBI briefly entertained talks about a merger with Make UK, the manufacturers’ body, but these have now been curtailed.

The business group declined to comment on Friday, although an insider said it was “standard operating practice…to adjust prices for inflation”.

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