UK Government 'Amateurs' running business policy
A business leader has likened politicians to "interested amateurs" who have never run anything or had experience in industry.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), maintained that companies were capable or making and selling goods and services at home and abroad, but could only grow with the help of an enterprise-friendly environment.
In a strongly-worded speech to the BCC's annual conference in London, Mr Longworth said he did not accept that Britain was locked into long-term economic decline, with slow growth being the "new normal".
Mr Longworth offered a comparison with South Korea, continuing: "This is a nation that is not blessed with natural resources, is not part of a major political bloc like the EU, is sandwiched between two of the largest economies in the world, China and Japan, and which has a hostile nation on its northern frontier.
"And yet they have doubled their economy nine times in the last 50 years or so, have had, until recently, growth in excess of 4%, even today at over 2%, as a fully developed economy, and are soon set to become wealthier than the UK. They have, like us in Britain, a spirit of enterprise, talent and hard work. So why is it are we not going 'gangbusters', just as they are going Gangnam Style?
"Well, for one thing, they have had successive governments who have put business front and centre stage in national policy and have had a culture of government and business working together for growth, for the benefit of their people, and in their national interest.
"We, by contrast, have a political class in the tradition of the interested amateur, in many cases having little or no experience of business, and who have generally never run anything. That ensures they are at the mercy of the mandarins of the civil service - just like the Chinese Emperors whose actions were constrained as they tried to rule from the original Forbidden City."
The BCC leader urged the Government to bring forward a referendum on Europe, telling the Prime Minister that his negotiating position was strong. Businesses wanted to remain in the European internal market, but not at any price, he said, adding that half of BCC members wanted a renegotiation of existing terms, with only one in four happy with the current position.
He said the relationship would have to be renegotiated anyway.
He said: "Britain currently runs a massive trade deficit in goods with the EU and a small trade surplus with the rest of the world, so the Prime Minister's negotiating position is strong. Trade is rapidly shifting away from a stagnant Europe towards the rapidly growing emerging markets around the globe." Source