Opinion – Put Britain’s economy on a sustainable footing – Editorial FT.com -Dr Alf Oldman


This FT editorial understates the sustainability footing of the UK. The issue is about three core themes in my view:

  1. Investment

  2. Exports, and

  3. Skills.

However, I do recommend reading the FT article to set the scene.

via Put Britain’s economy on a sustainable footing – FT.com.

The FT claims that the UK’s small companies have failed to take advantage of export opportunities, yet it ignores the continued problems smaller businesses have had with raising finance. Without government guarantees banks have not been working effectively. Extensive reform of the UK banks is still overdue.

Targeted investment by the government has been too little, too late.

As my colleague John Gelmini has highlighted, many times on this blog, the UK’s approach to export is dated and on the back foot. The UK has missed enormous opportunities of exporting to China, compared to Germany and France, for example. Some of this has been caused by government ministers not thinking before meddling in the affairs of other countries.

But most importantly, there is a skills crisis. The UK education system does not produce a properly skilled work-force. Skills shortages are offset by immigration. The indigenous work-force is getting further and further behind. Traditional working class skilled jobs have long since gone to the Far East, where people typically work harder and longer but most importantly, they are paid much less. Organized labor in the UK, in industries like the public sector, is resisting adapting to best practice and deploying latest technology.

In my judgement an independent strategic study is required:

1. Identifying the UK’s best industries for growth and development

2. Ensuring that there are skilled workers for (1)

3. Identifying the UK’s best opportunities to increase exports

4. Ensuring that there is a new breed of multi-lingual professional sales people capable of exploiting (3)

5. Massive fiscal incentives to stimulate investment in the private sector

6. Supporting public sector infrastructure investment if the financial returns are sufficiently attractive

7. Downsizing the public sector, with wide-scale consolidation and outsourcing

8. Breaking up the UK banks and ensuring that there is greater competition in the financial services sector

9. Identifying opportunities for reforming EU bureaucracy, and

10. Exploring opportunities to reduce the UK’s population with carefully targeted government policy, like encouraging people to retire overseas.


One response

  1. There is a little more one could add to Dr Alf’s list:
    11)Raise UK levels of worker productivity from 20th in the world to the top 10%
    12)Scrap the NHS and remodel it on German and French lines with Rife machines in all cancer wards
    Merge Adult Social Care into the NHS
    13)Introduce variable taxes on foods and take a proactive stance to obesity,diabetes,cancer and Alzheimers all of which affect productivity,the ability to earn,the ability to pay taxes and job performance
    14)Make our tax regime more competitive and encourage wealthy foreigners to come to the UK and employ people
    15)Introduce business boot camps and a path to self employment for the non academically inclined
    16)Shorten school holidays,lengthen the schoolday in state schools and teach children how to sell and present from an early age.
    17)Fire trendy heads and transform sacked military officers into head teachers and sacked soldiers into teachers as the Americans have done with their Troops to Teachers programme
    18)Put money into Singapore style policing to make city centres and transport hubs safe and attractive for insurers and developers and for the creation of a “cafe society” rather than one of alchohol and drug fuelled debauchery which puts off tourists and stops people from going out with their families and loved ones
    19)Bring our road system into the 21st century,build Boris Island and simplify the visa system to attract more high spending Chinese tourists as the French and Italians have done
    20)Reintroduce National Service with a maximum period of 2 years from leaving school or just 18 months for bright students going to University.
    This should apply to both boys and girls with exceptions based on medical grounds

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