Beckett wants alliance

Margaret Beckett, president of the Board of Trade, wants a ‘partnership’ between business and government. Only then, she believes, will the UK be truly competitive and in good shape to deliver the wealth necessary for a stable economy. She will personally chair an Advisory Group on Competitiveness which will include 19 ‘chiefs’ of industry, among […]

Margaret Beckett, president of the Board of Trade, wants a ‘partnership’ between business and government. Only then, she believes, will the UK be truly competitive and in good shape to deliver the wealth necessary for a stable economy.

She will personally chair an Advisory Group on Competitiveness which will include 19 ‘chiefs’ of industry, among them representatives from the CBI, BP, GKN and British Aerospace.

Mrs Beckett outlined a five-point plan of action for the new partnership (right):

So what is industry’s response to this position, from a figurehead of a government still in its infancy?

Geoff Young, at GAMBICA, broadly welcomes what he sees as the government’s determination to introduce new initiatives to stimulate better competitiveness. Beckett’s speech refers to the need to continue strides toward a more skilled workforce, which is encouraging, he says. ‘I think our members will be very happy with the sentiment of the partnership initiative. The government would appear to want to be listening to industry,’ he adds.

On the downside, he says, there is not enough emphasis on added value and quality, words which he would like to have seen stressed more.

On a practical level, he says, most of those in the industry would like to see a start to the partnership with a fall in exchange rates (Analysis August).

{{* to encourage more and long term investment.* to examine the scope for improvements in labour productivity.* to improve performance in innovation.* to make the best use of information and communications technologies.* to look more widely at the business environment within which industry operates, concentrating in particular on its implications for small firms.}}