CBI discusses actions to improve UK economy

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Looking ahead to 2015, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has put forward some suggestions for making the UK economy stronger, making the future better for the country's young people and securing Britain's position in the world.

Delivering his new year's message, CBI director general John Cridland told politicians that reducing the UK's deficit and cementing its reputation as one of the best places to do business should be a priority.

Indeed, limited companies, sole traders and contractors have been part of the driving force that has helped spur the UK economy forward. Statistics from the Federation of Small Businesses have showed that smaller firms have been disproportionately responsible for creating jobs. Additionally, more people are choosing to become their own boss; the Office for National Statistics found that 15 per cent of the country's workforce is now self employed. This is the highest proportion seen since records began.

Mr Cridland said that overall the economy has performed well over the course of 2014 and that the UK has emerged more prepared to tackle challenges moving forward. Indeed, there are concerns over a weakening Eurozone, weakening emerging economies and a tricky political landscape. These will present challenges when it comes to exports.

He said: "Our economy is among those enjoying the fastest growth among the G7 nations, with 1.2 million jobs created this year and employment set to grow in every region of the UK in 2015.

“But the political and economic risks at home and abroad represent a clear and present danger. As the election countdown accelerates, I urge politicians of all hues not to take their eyes off the economic ball."

He said that making Britain one of the best places to do business should be a top priority for 2015 and that the current momentum must be maintained so that a good "launch pad" is sustained for the UK economy and its young people.

Britain's part in a reformed EU is part of what Mr Cridland said is vital to ensuring Britain retains its place in the world.

He said that the majority of member companies of all different sizes at CBI wish to remain part of a reformed EU.

Mr Cridland agrees that keeping the UK as part of the EU is advantageous for business. However, he says that the EU needs to become more competitive, open and outward looking.

To do this, he suggested that more trade deals should be signed, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. He says that this could be worth at least €120 billion each year and could create a combined market of more than 800 million people. This would also provide more choices for consumers at a cheaper price.

Over the course of 2015, the UK is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent. Mr Cridland explained that wage growth needs to be restored so that more people feel like they are benefitting from the recovery. He also says that skills need to be increased, partly with the help of the country's education system, so that productivity can be raised.

By Victoria McDonnell

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