Saturday, 5 September 2015

If anyone is listening?

My dad told me once "you have to earn a pound before you can spend it" and that was good advice.

In the recent General Election the real condition of our nations economy was not discussed, the Conservatives ruthlessly exploited English nationalism against Scottish nationalism, with sound bite economics, that does not actually relate to the real world, Labour never articulated the fundamental problem within our economy, instead concentrated on the NHS and an electoral strategy that was doomed to failure.

The fundamental truth is we as a nation are not productive enough.

On some measures, Britain is now around a fifth less productive per worker than the G7 average, and a jaw dropping 40 per cent below the US. 

It is clear that there are a number of factors that make low productivity, one being our dysfunctional banking system may have been both starving enterprise of finance; with immigration and government welfare policy there is a plentiful supply of cheap labour, with a short term mentality on investment companies would rather use (cheap) labour rather than technological advances.

This country does not fair well in spending as a proportion of the nations wealth on research and development compared with other advanced nations.

In a decade of low interest rates some businesses have undoubtedly use wage deflation to sustain their businesses, that has allowed many unsustainable businesses to continue trading with the employees being subsided by the tax payers in the form of tax credits or housing benefits.

Many businesses do not invest in staff training rather using unskilled labour, life long learning has disappeared from the government's vocabulary, with a welfare system forcing people into low pay low skill work.

As a nation we are not spending enough on research and development and scientific research, our businesses do not have access to finance to invest in cutting edge technology and products and our employees are not trained well enough and are not equipped for the modern economy how on earth are we to generate the income to pay for high quality public services? 

This is the challenge for our political elite and particular the new Labour leader, to advocate an economic strategy that is based on wealth creation, business leaders are naturally suspicious of Labour politicians, suspicious of government, yet it is public policy that drives finance and taxation, education and training that business need to develop their businesses.

This two way street of government and business also requires that business takes responsibility, if government provides a framework of investment banking helping the real economy, investing in colleges and training, and universal childcare, it is reasonable to expect business to pay good wages and help with social welfare of their employees, This calls for strategy to make a wage structure that people do not need state top up payments and business develop learning of their employees as a central aspect of their business.

Business leaders are keen to portray Labour as anti business, but the reality is without government support, business on its own cannot flourish

Electing a new Leader


The election for the Labour party’s new leader enters the last week and Labour Party members from across the Wells constituency met in Wells to hear and debate from Kerry McCarthy MP representing Andy Burnham MP candidature and Clare Moody MEP representing Yvette Cooper candidature.

During the evening Labour Party members’ debated issues such as the rural economy and how to create wealth, debating how we safeguard the living standards of all who live in our country, the importance of lifelong learning and protecting the NHS and expanding social care, there were also debates around fracking and protection of the environment.

Clare Moody MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, supporting Yvette Cooper, said Labour can only grow the economy if the workforce has the right skills and the best training, invests in infrastructure (including the digital economy) that promotes economic growth and delivers high quality childcare that families need.

This country needs a serious plan for good jobs and growth, we lag behind many of our competing nations on productivity, Britain is being left behind. Too many businesses are stuck in narrow short term thinking, we need to double our investment in science, creating high tech jobs, with a vocational skills revolution. Labours alternative must support new, good jobs for the future, sustain our public services and bring down the deficit in a way that is fair.

Kerry McCarthy MP, who supported Andy Burnham MP, Labour is a party with a big vision for Britain that delivers a better life for everyone in this country. Government often overlooks the wealth creators, small to medium size businesses, many small businesses innovation and growth are hindered by the inability to attract high quality staff and investment to produce new products and services. Businesses need their business rates reduced too.

The last Labour government rebuilt our schools and saved our NHS, we tackled child poverty with tax credits and sure start and children centres, the challenges the next Labour government will be about tackling an economy that works for too few, that is not educating and skilling the workforce to compete in a 21st century economy. Britain needs healthcare that meets people’s expectation and social care that protects the most vulnerable in our society. We need to be building homes that people need and devolving power and responsibility to local communities to find the best way to deliver vital services.