By Max Clarke
“The Government still has more work to do if we are to see a sustained economic recovery over the coming months,” says the outgoing Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, on his last day in the post.
For the past eight years, Frost has headed up Britain’s largest business organisation, offering economic insights into the UK economy, whilst lobbying Government and legal bodies in order to create a more fertile environment for business.
Following are his 6 key steps to which the government must adhere in order to ensure full economic recovery:
1. Focus on wealth creation
“Over the years, we have forgotten the importance of wealth creation. As a nation, we all want to see improved public services, but to achieve this we need to create wealth. Politicians need to focus on this debate rather than on spending money.”
2. Adhere to the economic plan set out by the Chancellor
“We as a country cannot go on spending £150bn more each year than we raise in taxes. There is not a painless way to bring public finances back into balance and you cannot endlessly put off making hard decisions.”
3. The Government must provide supporting infrastructure to help businesses grow and thrive
“The most vital component is a high class education system. The present system fails too many young people. We have those that have the education and skills that allow them to compete with an increasingly globalised workforce, and those that leave school with minimal or no qualifications and face a future of life trapped on welfare. We then have to spend billions of pounds a few years later providing them with basic employability skills to try and integrate them into work.”
4. Help businesses take on local people rather than migrant workers by providing British people with the right skills
“The adoption of migrant labour, particularly from Eastern Europe, has been one of the most dramatic changes I have seen in my time at the BCC. Overwhelmingly, business has adopted migrant workers for the simple reason that they are often better educated and have a stronger work ethic than local people. It is not about paying lower wages. If the government is serious about "British Jobs for British Workers", then not only do they have to improve the education system, but also radically change the welfare system so it never pays not to work.”
5. Reduce red tape
“It is not only the volume of employment regulation, but the endless tinkering to existing regulations which is burdensome and creates confusion for business owners. For example, there have been six major changes to parental rights in the last ten years. Small businesses in particular are worried about getting it wrong and ending up in front of an employment tribunal, so the default is often only to employ an extra person as a last resort. This is hardly the right outcome when we have 2.5m people unemployed in the UK.”
6. Press ahead with crucial planning reforms
“The default response within this country to almost any new proposed development is 'No'. We do not want to concrete over the countryside, but at the same time, construction is a driver of economic growth and the population of this country is growing fast and needs to be housed. It’s not a case of throwing out the rulebook to grow the economy at any cost, but there is clear evidence that the system is too complicated, too costly, and too uncertain. The Government must hold its course on these planning reforms so we can revitalise growth, and get the economy moving again.”