For me, the CBI, and every business leader I speak to - we’re clear that our job in the coming weeks is to support the country in beating this virus and getting business back on its feet.
It may seem that to talk now of the decade ahead is misplaced. But I think it’s what the crisis demands. Build Back Better is easy to say but it is much harder to do. It needs a vision, a plan and a consensus as a nation to pursue it.
I don’t think we did that after 2008.
We stabilised the economic system immediately. Then for the long run, we stabilised the public finances. And we achieved modest economic growth. But our productivity growth flatlined. And our society divided rather than united.
So, what will we take from this crisis? Where, in our darkest times, have we made real shifts for the better?
Most notably – of course – in the aftermath of the Second World War, when post-war reconstruction gave birth to the NHS and the creation of the welfare state.
I have been saying for some time, and to anyone who would listen, that we need to return to a proper, mixed economy. None of our main parties have declared their fulsome support for public services balanced with a regulated market economy at any time in the recent past.
“Build Back Better” is a Trumpian/Dominic Cummings/Boris Johnson, say nothing but sound good phrase. We cannot repeat what we did to the poor and our public services in 2008. We have seen what that does to us in a crisis and, although we have a party in power whose movers and shakers plus many of its supporters believe we should move to the American style of personal liberty before the greater good this is surely not our countries standpoint. Or, sadly, is it? Will we lose this opportunity too?
The rest of the speech is previewed here: www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/articles/we-must-not-make-same-mistakes-as-2008-d-g-bloomberg-economy-speech/
PippaZ Sun 07-Feb-21 11:01:01
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