Opinion from Lord Digby Jones

The Mountain of Debt

Published Monday 28 January, 2013

It is becoming tedious to hear (as we did again last week) Labour politicians declaring "of course there must be cuts, but not this one". Even they, amongst the hypocrisy and deceit of party politics, recognise that, to within a margin that is irrelevant when viewing the scale of the deficit, realise there is no alternative to Plan A; your mortgage, my car loan, the rate of interest on the Nation's huge debt mountain, all depend on "keeping going".

BUT; cutting spending never grew an economy; and it is only growth that will fix the problem, from jobs to tax generation. The only way out is to trade our way out. That requires (at least) three quick and definitive changes:

  1. As much as public opinion will hate it, there HAS to be a change in the mood music about the role of business in our Society, about the importance of wealth creation. It must be led by the politicians; Dr Cable has to hold his nose and praise a wealth-creating, job-creating, tax-generating banker; (isn't it strange that the UK's Secretary of State for Business just doesn't like Business!); Ed Milliband has to hug a wealth creator; Question Time has to stop being a Coliseum where Businessmen and women are thrown to the lions. The penny has to drop that profit is vital, that the private sector's success is the answer.
  2. Get out the cheque book George and commit to fifty more infrastructure projects NOW. They stimulate employment, generate private sector growth, enhance productivity, nurture international competitiveness. ... and you don't have to find all the dosh to pay for them up front. Airport expansion, road construction, nuclear power stations, railway improvement, shipping port development. ... get on with it George!
  3. Announce in the morning the abolition of the jobs tax; Employers' National Insurance Contributions. This doesn't tax profits, it taxes employment. Abolish it for businesses taking on new employees. Couple that with the complete removal from income tax of anyone on the minimum wage so it pays to be employed; oh! and make it the Number One Priority of every school in the land that every school leaver can read, write, count and operate a computer so that when they have a chance to contribute to the growth economy they are at least employable!