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National productivity plans

  • All nations need some form of productivity plan which outlines the broad thrusts their government intends to make to improve the well-being of the maximum number of its citizens – but most do not have such a plan, and the few that do don’t let their citizens know much about it

  • Cynics ask ‘why bother?’

  • Governments invariably get things wrong when they try to grow businesses – ‘most ministers have never run anything and couldn’t even run a whelk stall’

  • But there’s much that only governments can do to encourage and support private sector growth – one only has to look at the stellar results obtained by China, Japan and Singapore and the significant role their governments played

  • So where are we now?

 

  • According to The Times: “There’s no discernible moves to rebalance G7 economies towards higher added-value industries offering further GDP and prosperity growth”

 

  • In developed markets, more growth is being sought largely via QE (Quantitative Easing) and ZIRPs (Zero Interest Rate Policies) – however, encouraging more demand at home is unlikely to work at present – most people, fearful for their jobs and lacking adequate savings, are paying down debt and not wanting to buy anything other than essentials, no matter how low interest rates may be – better to seek extra demand abroad, in emerging and undeveloped markets

 

  • There’s few exciting national projects in the pipeline that address national productivity needs and ‘get pulses racing’ – in the UK, an exception has been the concept of a Northern Powerhouse being created in the North of England, merging Manchester and Liverpool into one mega-city with greatly improved physical and digital connectivity, and possibly extending this across the Pennines to include Leeds through to Hull – whether this will materialise is another matter

 

  • There’s plenty of austerity programmes ongoing but cost cutting of waste and wasteful activities is a limited exercise – once completed, the gains cannot be repeated

  • All governments thus need a long term plan for growth – and one they publish so electorates know what to expect

 

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