A clearer, stronger strategy for growth needs clearer, stronger accountability

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Felicity has set out the four ambitions that we see as forming the core of a vision for the UK economy of 2015.

Our ambitions have been carefully selected to use as a means to prioritise government resources and activity. But alone they are not enough.

We need a meaningful accountability framework that will hold the government to account for delivering on these ambitions.

In spirit this is not a wholesale departure from the government's little-known Plan for Growth. But the government's measures are too many, too vague, and are not stretching enough to drive a meaningful improvement in the UK economy.

So in our submission we set out an alternative set of measures to sit under each of the ambitions we have for the UK economy of 2015:

1. More companies bringing new products and services to market• Real business enterprise sector investment by businesses of all sizes in R&D returned to pre-recession peak• 60% increase in the take-up of the SME R&D tax credit

2. More globally-focused companies choosing to expand in the UK• A higher proportion of companies exporting more than 25% of their turnover;• A 2 percentage points increase in the share of private sector turnover accounted for by Mid-Sized Businesses.

3. A lower cost of doing business• Below average EU industrial electricity prices• A reduction of 10% in the time and money spent complying with domestic regulation• The most competitive tax system in the G20 on a range of measures beyond the headline rate of corporation tax

4. A more productive and more flexible labour force• An increase of 25% in the number of STEM apprenticeships at Level 3 (or above)• A reduction in the proportion of hard-to-fill vacancies• 65% of people who take GCSEs achieve 5 A*-C grades including English and Maths

And to ensure these measures are reported and monitored consistently, clearly, and regularly, we propose the National Audit Office produces an annual summary of the government's progress.

The ambitions, the measures under the ambitions, and the monitoring of the NAO would create a directly comparable growth counterpart to the government's Fiscal Mandate.

This is our recommendation for re-setting the government's strategy on growth. We think that a credible strategy would do a lot to boost confidence in the UK economy and give companies the confidence that the UK is becoming a more attractive place in which to invest in and grow a business.

But as important as this is, a refocused strategy only tells us what we're aiming for. It doesn't tell us how we're going to get there. The how is where our policy recommendations come in…


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