As political parties position themselves ahead of the election, John Cridland, CBI Director-General, has spelled out in his New Year message how to create a stronger economy, deliver a better future for our young people and secure Britain’s place in the world.
Focusing on three areas of action, he reminded politicians of all shades that reducing the deficit and cementing the UK’s reputation as one of the best places to do business, must remain top priorities for the next government. He also issued a clarion call to radically reform the education system by replacing GCSEs with a more up-to-date qualification and urged political leaders to place facts first amid the increasingly fevered debate on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Mr. Cridland said, “It has been a successful year for the UK economy, and we have emerged stronger and more able to tackle the challenges ahead. 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. As the election countdown accelerates, I urge politicians to sustain the best launch pad for the UK economy and our young people. Cementing Britain’s reputation in the world as one of the best places to do business has to be a top priority for 2015.”
On creating a better future for our young people, Mr Cridland said, “Britain’s young people are streetwise and impressive, however, the education system, while the average is gently improving, needs to get the basics right first time in primary school and then provide a personal menu of tailored learning plans for all 14-18 year olds, offering high quality academic and vocational ‘A’ levels, and encouraging young people to mix and match, depending on what’s right for them”. This involves the eventual replacing of GCSEs at 16, as peak level testing is then take place when students are 18.
On the future of Britain’s place in the world, Mr. Cridland also said, “the majority of CBI members want the UK to remain within a reformed EU. The fundamental choice here is whether Britain wants to be a global citizen or just be within national borders. The majority of CBI member companies of all sizes want to remain in a reformed EU. The EU has to reform and needs to be more competitive, outward looking and open”.
“It must sign more trade deals, like the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, which might be worth at least €120 billion every year and may create a combined market of more than 800 million people, bringing more choices for consumers at cheaper prices. Furthermore, reducing lifestyle regulations on matters like employment, such as the working time directive”.
Many economic experts believe the British economy progress to going to continue. With UK growth expected to hit 2.5 percent in 2015, and restoring wage growth might help more people feel that they are benefitting from the recovery. Experts are optimistic that living standards might be improved, spreading the benefit of growth for the country and move forwards with confidence.
In addition, Many political parties have also delivered their New Years message, Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has said, “It’s time for a new approach. We want to build a new society one in which everyone has certain access to the resources for a decent quality of life. It is important that this year we make the bold changes to our economy and society, I believe requires the introduction of a living wage for all workers, benefits for all who need them, every home being warm, comfortable and affordable-to-heat”.
What productive additions might 2015 bring to the UK economy?