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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 was being sought largely via QE (Quantitative Easing) and ZIRPs (Zero Interest Rate Policies)
  • 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 eventually materialise is another matter
  • Apparently, there’s also plenty of austerity programmes ongoing but cost cutting of waste and wasteful activities is a limited exercise – once completed, those 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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