On Monday, we launched our Industrial Strategy – the Route to Growth – and we have been blogging about it all week.
We have argued that successful Industrial Strategy needs to be underpinned by three strands:
Today, I will be looking at accountability.
There is clear accountability for deficit reduction, but no similar accountability for growth…
We have argued that the government needs to take a similar approach to growth as it has done to deficit reduction. When it comes to deficit reduction, the Office of Budget Responsibility tracks progress, and if it looks like things are going off course, the Chancellor has to announce to Parliament what actions he is going to take in response.
… but growth is just as important for the economy’s long term success as deficit reduction…
Although – as any business that has been through the downturn will know – cutting costs and rebuilding balance sheets is crucial to sustainable growth, but it is only half of the picture. No business would expect to become a global leader through cost cutting alone, and the story is the same for the UK economy. Deficit reduction must therefore go hand in hand with a focus on growth.
…the link between accountability and achieving deficit reduction is clear…
If the OBR determines that the public finances are heading down the wrong path the Chancellor must announce what actions he is going to take to address this.
…Therefore we need to be able to hold someone accountable for growth, at the highest levels of the Cabinet...
As with the deficit, success on the rate of progress on a small number of measurable benchmarks for growth should be monitored. This could be done by the National Audit Office and communicated to Parliament alongside Budget and Autumn Statements.
...Accountability is a key strand of achieving growth.
EEF’s Industrial Strategy, The Route to Growth, was published on Monday.