Lord Digby Jones addressed over 200 foreign exchange traders and other financial services experts at a Forum at the Bloomberg Auditorium in London. Organised by BGC Partners and entitled “RECOVERY!”, he joined with fellow participants Paul Tucker, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Sir James Sassoon, a former Investment Banker with UBS/Warburg and secondee to the Treasury.
“We cannot take UK recovery for granted” said Lord Jones. “Politicians, especially in General Election year, will assure voters that we are out of recession and in the recovery phase. Nice soundbite it may be, but we must make sure some fundamentals are in place to make a sustainable, enduring recovery a reality.”
“We must have a Government that works with the groove of business and not play to the populist gallery of exacting punishment, by burdening our financial services sector with punitive taxation and, more, as opposed to better and better enforced, regulation. I can endure the statistics that show wealth (and therefore tax) generators leaving for Switzerland. I worry to the point of finding it unacceptable that there is a young graduate from Bangalore University that will now choose Qatar, Bahrain or Hong Kong before London to build a career in Financial Services. That “no show” is a statistic you will never be told – how many of the next wealth-creating generation never even come.
“We must build on our value-added, innovative, quality branded manufacturing sector. You will read every day that “We don’t make things anymore”. What rubbish! To paraphrase a certain election slogan.. “Yes We Do!”
Aerospace, defence equipment, automotive, food, pharmaceuticals – we are right now, today, worldbeaters – why can’t the BBC and the newspapers acknowledge that simple fact?!
“But above all we need leadership – in our politics, our businesses, our schools, our hospitals, in the environmental debate, in our communities – in our Society. We have developed a society where people think they can be victims, receiving money from “the State” without taking any responsibility for their own lives or (and here are the mechanics of the dissolving of the glue that holds our communities in town and countryside together) the lives of others”.
We must upskill the people ready to deliver recovery; create the wealth and participate in reformed, more productive public services. Economic recovery without social cohesion is impossible, worse than that, it is deceiving the British people to tell them it is. Our children will never forgive us.”