Listening to the radio early this morning, I heard the unwelcome news that the UK Economy shrank by 0.5% in Q4 2010 - an especially depressing reminder of the state we are in when I remembered that even the most optimistic predictions were for the anaemic figure of just 0.2% growth.
Sir Richard Lambert (who spoke at the Freshminds summer lecture in 2010), in his final speech as director general of the CBI, criticised the government’s record on providing a ‘growth plan’. We agree.
We really do need to start stimulating momentum and energy into the jobs market to get the economy moving forward.
So we thought of a few little ideas that might help:
Growth ideas from Freshminds…
A UK job stimulus plan – give companies a £3,000 tax break to hire new staff over the next 12 months – it worked in the United States in 1977/78 with the New Jobs Tax Credit Scheme
Mentoring – get more people to volunteer to mentor and advise small companies to offer support and ideas to help them grow – encourage people who work for large companies to offer a bit of their time to help smaller companies and organisations
The Olympics – given the investment we are making can we use it better to anchor campaigns, drive interest in the UK and welcome investment into Britain
Make government procurement much simpler for small companies to tender for business
Set a target that when we get to an unemployment count of less than 1.5m then we give everyone in the country another bank holiday
Football – people love it all over the world – and we (sort of) invented it. Can we have a football and business conference later this year and invite business leaders and football teams to an exhibition tournament?
Be positive – we are a great country, have some of the best businesses and brands in the world – we need to shout about it more.
We have plenty more suggestions where they come from…let’s get an appetite for growth to the top of the political forecast for 2011.
James Callander is Managing Director of Freshminds