To say the Comprehensive Spending Review was driven by a “small state” philosophy completely misses the point. Any idiot can see that the measures made in George Osborne’s speech were a direct result of a world-wide recession made far worse by Gordon Brown’s spectacular mismanagement of the economy and refusal to regulate the banks.But now the plan has been set out and we know what we have to do. The Spending Review was an emergency call to the private sector. From the self-employed one-man-bands through to the CEOs of major corporations, the challenge has been laid down to build our businesses, create new jobs and expand the economy. This has to happen to absorb the mass of civil servant redundancies, but also continue the momentum to reduce unemployment figures across the board. At Pimlico Plumbers, we are already putting this into practice. We are now ten per cent up on staff from where we were this time last year – and we’re still recruiting. I am sure there are other businesses doing exactly the same thing. There are a lot of people out there and I’m a strong believer that there are a lot of jobs to be filled, too. A good example comes from Morrisons supermarkets whose chief executive Dalton Philips recently told me they’ve got 3,000 vacancies. If we’ve got the people and the vacancies, all we need is the willing of the people and the skills to help them do the jobs. Hopefully the crackdown on welfare will play a part, as will the government’s increase of adult apprenticeships. What better way to help public sector workers enter a new career than by following the apprenticeship route that offers training and wages at the same time. As I’ve said before, apprenticeships aren’t just for the young and they should be seen as an effective route to a career whatever the age of the trainee. Now the speculation is over, private businesses have to pick up the ball and run with it like Spurs hat-trick star Gareth Bale flying down the left wing in the San Siro the other night. Just as the North Londoners battled back against seemingly impossible odds, so will we! We need to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for people and I believe we are capable of doing it.
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