We can solve the productivity puzzle by investing in people

By Patrick Spencer, Head of Work and Welfare Unit at the Centre for Social Justice

UnknownIn his Budget, the chancellor Philip Hammond announced forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that the British economy will grow by 1.4 per cent in 2018, below previous forecasts of a 1.6 per cent expansion.

The reason? “Regrettably, our productivity performance continues to disappoint,” said Philip Hammond.

Why ‘Fourteen Forty’?

The printing press dates back to 1440.  Before that hand-written manuscripts were only for the privileged few.

The press did more than make mass communications possible.  It was one of the foundations of modern democracy.  The press enabled people to share what they knew and discovered, to build on each other’s work. They didn’t have to start from scratch each time.

Making the case for free enterprise

Capitalism is under threat and companies now face a more hostile environment in which to do business than at any time in the last 40 years.

A study by the Legatum Institute, a think tank, and Populus, the market research company, found that there is widespread support for Labour’s nationalisation agenda and much less support for free enterprise. For advocates of free enterprise, anyone who runs a business, and, as should be the case, is merely employed by private enterprise, the report makes sober reading.

Making the case for business

Populism is on the rise, tensions are high and the case for business is not being made.

Companies now face a more hostile environment in which to do business than at any time in the last 40 years.

The past decade has traced a decline in trust in formal institutions.  Recent studies show across almost every issue – whether regulation or ownership – that the public is losing patience with private business.  Even travel agents do not escape the wrath, with a quarter of people wanting them nationalised.

Businesses are under threat, some terminally so.

But companies are the UK’s principal wealth and job creators. They support 82% of all employment in this country. They provide the taxes that essential public services depend on.

It has never been more difficult, nor more important, to make the argument for business. Correctly, responsibly and with conviction.

But for too long communications has failed to keep pace with the changing pressures businesses face. Business communication has lost touch with the need to be human and understand how humans behave.

Rather than shrink from the argument, business must communicate with conviction throughout conflict. We must now understand and influence behaviours, networks, echo chambers, activists and even propagandists.

Businesses must win the argument by having better, more compelling stories. Told in more human ways.

This is why we’ve launched Fourteen Forty.

We believe it’s time to reset the relationship between business and the public.

We believe it’s time people recognise once again all that businesses contribute to society and the economy.

It is time to make the case for business.

 

Is big business really the big bad wolf?

The big bad wolf is the archetypal menacing predator. Preying on the weak and vulnerable, he has few, if any, redeeming features. For many, this is how they see big business. Recent research by the Legatum Institute showed that the British public holds an unfavourable view of ‘capitalism’ as a concept, viewing it as ‘greedy’, ‘selfish’ and ‘corrupt’. A vast majority, according to the research, would like to see many industries, and the big businesses within them, nationalised.