22 May, 2022

Business ‘don't need ministers to crack the whip to get growth going’

11 June, 2012

In a speech to senior business leaders and politicians at the recent CBI Annual Dinner in London, the organisation’s president, Sir Roger Carr, made clear that business didn’t need ministers to “crack the whip” to get growth going. He said that, in the race for growth, the going may be heavy at times, “but the horses are willing, the course is understood and there is a shared will to win”.

He continued: “There is no doubting the intent of the Coalition in providing business friendly policies – what we now need is more business like execution – delivery on promises made – ruthlessly and urgently.”
·        Reducing the regulatory burden.
·        Initiating infrastructure projects.
·        Clarifying energy policies.
·        Sorting out our borders and embarrassing queues at Heathrow.
·        Financing growth ambitions – particularly of our smaller and medium-sized firms.
·        Tackling the European solvency challenges for our larger financial institutions.
However, Sir Roger added: “In asking Government to step up the pace – we in business need to face up to our responsibilities.” He outlined four “hard truths” that all business people have to face up to in order to deliver their part of the growth agenda bargain and a better future for all: “The first is to accept that we deserve nothing. The sense of entitlement at all levels is a legacy from a different age. We have to earn our way in the world, be smart enough to know what we are good at, brave enough to reach out to new markets, bright enough to develop new products, and driven enough to beat the competition. There is no other way – and as I travel the country, it is heartening to see how many have taken up this challenge.”
On the second truth, Sir Roger said: “The second truth is when it comes to growth – there are simply still not enough of us fishing in the right pools. So our relative export performance is poor.” He continued: “Large companies must help small and medium-sized companies to find their way to distant places. Small and medium-sized companies must find the courage to make the journey – the CBI must act as a catalyst – and government must support all companies in this critical task.”
Shoulder to the wheel
On the third truth, he said: “The third hard truth is our education system. It is failing young people and failing the country as a whole. On a human level, having so many unable to read, write or add up properly is a tragic waste – of talent and of opportunity. But this is devastating on a commercial level too. Some promising reforms are underway. But it’ll take business putting its shoulder to the wheel to make it happen. In the course of this year the CBI will recommend new ways that this can be done and show it is not just a case of turning around troubled teenagers. It goes all the way down to primary and pre-school levels – it is a shared responsibility for all of us – and we must work together to build a young workforce that is fit for purpose and capable of realising its potential.”
On the fourth truth, he said: “The fourth, and last, hard truth is potentially the most disturbing of all – recognising that at a time when business could not matter more – it could not be trusted less. In the way we pay ourselves, present ourselves and conduct ourselves, now is the time to be more transparent, more responsible and more accountable.”

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