CBI chief criticises Government’s ‘vague’ growth plans

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) director-general has criticised the Government’s “vague ideas” for stimulating growth and has accused it of ignoring valuable schemes already in place to create jobs.

Sir Richard Lambert, who will step down as the CBI’s director-general on Friday, spoke in favour of the Government’s spending cuts, which he said did less damage to employment growth over the long term than tax increases.

However, he argued that the Government had not been consistent when it came to policies designed to support growth.

“Rather than a big picture of the kind of economic eco-system that the Government wants to champion, we are left with a few rather vague ideas about the scope for supporting a number of predictable sectors, and the promise that more ideas will be forthcoming at the time of the spring budget,” Lambert commented.

He outlined a number of areas the Government should target to stimulate growth, including developing policies that would support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), that “play a vital role in underpinning the stability of the whole economy”.

“SMEs are the main source of new jobs in the UK. The big multinationals – the companies that the Prime Minister usually gathers around the Cabinet Office table when he is discussing these matters – taken together and over time are reducing their head count in this country.”

Lambert also accused the Government of putting the funding of some schemes at risk despite their benefit to the economy, such as the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships graduate recruitment programme, which gives postgraduates the opportunity to work in participating companies for up to three years.

“The Government may be running the risk of being so excited about announcing new policies that it ignores valuable schemes that already exist for the same purpose,” Lambert added.

The Government also faced criticism of its plans to boost the economy from Unison today (Monday), who accused it of putting recovery and services at risk with “savage” public sector job cuts.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison said that the cuts announced over the last six weeks, and detailed in a dossier published by the union, made “very grim reading”.

“With unemployment up to 2.5 million, the coalition cuts are blighting lives and wrecking the country’s chances of recovery,” said Prentis. “Sacking workers and closing down essential services will not put the economy back on its feet.”

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