The Great Debate UK

Targeting ‘champion’ businesses can assuage unemployment fears


Charlotte Hogg– Charlotte Hogg is Managing Director of Experian UK & Ireland. The opinions expressed are her own.

Recent news that UK unemployment has risen above 2.5 million has refocused attention on the anticipated reduction in public sector employment levels. The Office of Budget Responsibility now expects 330,000 public sector job losses over the next four years, far fewer than it forecast in June, but with the unemployment rate already running at 7.9 percent there are those who doubt the private sector’s ability to fill the employment void.

The question at the centre of the debate is whether the UK is currently experiencing a jobless recovery. It is clear that the private sector needs to create employment – and fast – if long-term economic recovery is to be achieved.  As small and medium enterprises make up 99 percent of the private sector, the bulk of this burden is likely to lie with them.

The impact of austerity measures have thus far been felt most keenly in the North East, South West and East of England.  However, Experian has conducted research that identifies a healthy number of private sector firms in these regions that have the potential to grow quickly and with the right support could make a big difference in stimulating regional employment.  Were they to realise their potential, these small businesses could between them reverse the fortunes of these regions.

Why I have to sleep with the enemy



-Laurence Copeland is professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own. -

A week or two ago, I posted a blog bemoaning the size of Britain’s public sector and expressing the fervent hope that the ill wind of the financial crisis would blow much of it away, leaving room for private industry to expand in its place.

Redundant redundancy terms?


BRITAIN-BUDGET/CUTS-Owen Morgan is the commercial director of HR consultancy Penna. The views expressed are his own.-

As the pace of change in the public sector increases, the government is starting to reveal additional information around how it plans to deal with the funding crisis that the sector faces.

Is the public sector really ready for change?


- David Jarrett is chief executive at Bath Consultancy Group. The opinions expressed are his own.-

For many leaders in the public sector it’s one thing to demonstrate a convincing rationale for change, show the graphs and numbers that justify your proposed strategy, draw up a new structure and win a mandate to make change. Yet this is only half the job. The other – perhaps most challenging half – is implementing this new way of working without your best people leaving, morale crashing, performance falling through the floor and dissatisfaction erupting among your customers.

Election reality that dare not speak its name


– Neil Collins is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Since Labour came to power in 1997, it has pursued a policy of expanding the numbers employed by the government or its agencies. The result is that today 6.1 million people are on the state payroll, an increase of about 900,000 in 13 years.

Latvia: Apocalypse (not quite) now . . .


Morten Hansen

-Morten Hansen is head of the economics department at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Latvia, with its 18 percent year-on-year economic decline, ruthless budget cuts to meet the demands stated by the IMF-EU bailout package and recurring rumours of devaluation, may be the most written about country in the world right now, at least on a per capita basis.

Another fine mess, Darling


REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

“You wanted to see me, prime minister?”

“Ah, Gus, do come in. Rather awkward. Something we didn’t think of in the Chancellor’s pension proposals — I always said Alistair didn’t have the intellectual firepower to take my job.”