Business is the wealth generator of the UK, and small and family businesses are the often neglected heart of the UK economy, with family businesses alone employing nearly four in ten of the UK’s workforce. We propose ways to make the UK an economy all businesses can thrive in.
A year has passed since I spoke last here on the same subject: inflation and unemployment. A the time, you may remember, my speech stirred up not only a fair amount of attention, comment and expressions of agreement, but also a hostile reaction from politicians and commentators. That was one year ago. What has happened since has largely confirmed what I then predicted
The House of Commons Expenditure Committee was conceived under the 1969 Labour Government, and brought to birth under the 1970 Conservative one. It took the place of the long standing Estimates Committee; and its formation represented a compromise between the wishes of those on both sides of the Commons who wanted to have an Economic Policy Committee, and the determination of the Treasury to avert the prospect of politicians cross-examining civil servants about the formulation of economic policy.
It is now widely realised that many of our present economic ills stem from a cardinal error, the belief that inflation and unemployment presented a choice of evils. We have learned to our cost that inflationary measures designed in good faith to abate unemployment have eventually intensified it, leaving us with the worst of both worlds.
Since the war, rising prosperity and increased leisure have enabled the mass of the British people to enjoy their individual freedoms on a scale never previously realised. Bit it is a paradox that, just when personal liberty is beginning to characterise the life-style of a whole generation, that generation has produced so many articulate members who have failed to perceive that their life-style depends crucially on a socio-economic system which they claim to abhor. There is a need to demonstrate to these people that freedom is indivisible, and to explain to them the underlying contradiction between extreme egalitarianism and freedom; the role of prices, profits and competition in creating wealth; and the intimate link between personal liberty and the diffusion of economic power.