British PM calls for wartime spirit to fight weak economy



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Monday 19 November 2012

Last update 20 November 2012 12:32 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

LONDON: Britain must ruthlessly pursue growth to secure its economic recovery, Prime Minister David Cameron told business leaders yesterday, invoking the wartime spirit that helped the nation defeat Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.
The premier told the annual meeting of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that he has instructed all departments in the civil service to make economic growth a central aim.
Cameron's Conservative-led coalition government has already made big steps toward cutting costs and eliminating waste to slash the deficit and provide a stable business environment, he added.
"I want every department in Whitehall to be a growth department. I've insisted that every permanent secretary has growth as a key objective," Cameron told CBI delegates yesterday.
"And I want every minister and every official to understand that the dangers are not just in what you do, but what you don't do -- that the costs of delay are dealt in businesses going bust, jobs being lost, livelihoods being destroyed."
Britain escaped from recession in the third quarter but its outlook remains clouded by the impact of the ongoing euro zone debt crisis, harsh state austerity measures and inflationary pressures.
The Bank of England warned last week that the economy would shrink again in the fourth quarter in the absence of temporary factors like the London Olympic Games.
Cameron also outlined plans to cut through red tape and change the risk-averse culture of many civil servants.
"When this country was at war in the 1940s, Whitehall (Britain's civil service) underwent a revolution.
"Normal rules were circumvented. Convention was thrown out. As one historian put it, everything was thrown at the overriding purpose of beating Hitler.
"Well, this country is in the economic equivalent of war today — and we need the same spirit."
The economy grew by an impressive 1.0 percent in the three months to September, escaping from the longest double dip recession since the 1950s — and answering the prayers of many business leaders, according to the CBI.
"Reduced inflation and stable unemployment ... and most importantly, the first signs of growth that quite frankly we prayed for, (are) just starting to inch through," added CBI president Roger Carr in his opening address.
"So it's no surprise that the mood from our members is: It's tough, but could be worse."
The CBI — the country's biggest employers' organization — is a powerful business lobby in Britain and represents more than 240,000 companies or about one third of the private sector.
This year, the group is calling for the government to target education as its number one priority as part of Britain's long-term growth strategy.
And it appealed to finance minister George Osborne to continue his austerity policies.
"The CBI's message to the Chancellor — keep prescribing the medicine, but resist increasing the dosage," added Carr.
"The patient is fragile — accept a longer convalescence — it is infinitely preferable to the risk of sudden relapse from a heavy overdose. However well intentioned, the doctor must be patient."
Britain's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, which inherited a record deficit from the previous Labour administration, has since slashed public expenditure and ramped up taxation in a bid to balance the books.
Cameron added yesterday that the coalition has sought to target certain cutbacks and taxes to avoid hurting the economy.
"You need a government that is tough; that can take the big, difficult decisions where they really matter. And nowhere does that matter more than on sorting out the deficit.
"Never forget — we inherited a deficit bigger than Spain's. Bigger even than Greece. This has meant taking decisions no other government dreamt of taking before."
The CBI meanwhile vowed to argue against a vote for Britain to leave the EU, in any potential referendum on European Union membership, amid dwindling public support for the country's place in the bloc.
Carr described EU membership as a "launchpad" for international trade involving non-euro zone member Britain, adding that half of the nation's exports went to Europe.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Traffic Department has denied that it is introducing new license plates for cars.It said hackers posted pictures of the supposedly new license plates on its Twitter account on Sunday. The department said the news, which went viral,...
JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook