The Institute of Directors (IoD), a leading business group, has published a list of 24 proposed policy changes for the government to get Britain’s growth back on track.The measures, which cover ten policy areas, aim to transform growth prospects at “little or no cost” to the taxpayer over the period of the Spending Review. “The government wants to maximise the opportunities for economic growth but it has little or no money with which to do it,” says Miles Templeman, director-general of the IoD. “By adopting these measures, the government’s growth strategy would be enhanced immediately. We urge ministers to seize this opportunity. “The government’s deficit reduction strategy is central to improving growth prospects and the overall business environment, but the government also needs to reform the supply-side of the economy to boost the private sector. Many of the measures we have proposed today are long overdue and would improve the UK’s infrastructure and the functioning of its labour market.” The IoD’s measures include:
- Release green belt land for development to boost construction sector.
- Create a genuine fast-track planning system for key national projects to boost construction sector and replace ageing infrastructure – local objections will need to be overridden.
- Allow local authorities that increase the total rateable value of properties to keep some of the increase in business rate income so they have an incentive to boost private sector growth in their areas. (N.B. local authorities should not be allowed to set the level of business rates since this is likely to undermine growth – this latter option is being considered by some ministers.)
- Aim Regional Growth Fund at “winners” not “losers” – i.e. target cities and clusters likely to yield the greatest return on investment.
- Introduce a minimum £500 employee deposit in employment tribunals to deter weak cases so that managers can focus on business growth – too many businesses have to spend too long defending themselves against vexatious claims because of the UK’s failing tribunal system.
- Abolish the right to request flexible working – this right creates red tape for firms, and does little or nothing to boost flexible working.
- Abolish the right to request time off for training – this right also creates red tape for firms, and does little or nothing to boost training for workers.
- Earmark all future profits from sale of state-owned bank shares for key infrastructure projects of national importance, particularly those transport and energy projects that are unlikely to proceed on the basis of private capital alone.
- End national collective bargaining in the NHS and Education sector to drive up productivity.
- Boost confidence by making an explicit commitment to reduce ratio of public spending to 35 per cent of GDP by 2020.
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