This week, the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee heard further evidence from Lord Heseltine on the nature of his recent report 'No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth', which offers an alternative method for sustained economic growth in the UK's economy.
Heseltine's report seeks to encourage a competitive economy by working with local areas in order to maximise the government's ability to generate further economic prosperity. Heseltine stated that the government recognised this need, and stressed that using public money for national infrastructure investment was a sensible way of managing the economy. He argued that one had to "look at the whole" when considering the UK's economic structure, and suggested that local areas should work together with private sectors in order to benefit the national economy. Heseltine stated that the government continuously tries to improve its economic performance by considering how tax payers' money is spent in their attempts to maintain a successful economic foundation, and believed his proposals would benefit Britain's competitive market.
Heseltine spoke of encouraging a dialogue with local regions in order to ensure further growth in the national economy. The length of the recession, he believed, has shaken people's belief in the current economic system, and local areas understand that a change is needed within the government's current economic mechanisms. He stated that there were "strengths" in local infrastructures and encouraged the government to develop a mutual relationship with such areas in order for Britain's economy to prosper. Stating that a "balance" between local and private sectors was needed for economic development, Heseltine's key point was that local communities should be put into a more influential position when the government deliberates on economic decisions.
Heseltine stated that the nature of Britain is changing with significant improvements in exports; however, his message was clear that the UK's economy cannot grow without the influence of localism as he believed there isn't sufficient infrastructure within the private sector at present. Given the need to find a realistic solution to the on-going problem of unemployment, Heseltine responded that Britain needed to make companies which make money in order to create a flow of new jobs within industry. This, he stated, rooted back to his core principle of establishing a dialogue between local and private sectors in order to boost economic development.
Having previously stated that stability within Europe was essential for the competitiveness of the UK's economy, Heseltine was asked whether David Cameron's threat of a referendum on Europe undermined such stability. Although he acknowledged that there is a "powerful argument" for a consolation in the UK's relationship with the European Union, he argued that his plans were about reconstructing the UK's economy, not Europe's. Commenting that Cameron's "powerful leadership" in Brussels last week proved that "powerful results" could be achieved, he appeared confident that the prime minister has the potential to establish a competitive economy for the UK.
Asked if he believed his report could lead to obstacles in its implementation, Heseltine stated that the government was aware of the need to change its current economic mechanisms, and he praised the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron. Heseltine's alternative strategy for economic growth is "not a revelation", he stated. It simply highlights the need to bring locals into the government's decision making process when planning for future economic development. Whether Cameron and his team will implement Heseltine's ideology remains to be seen, however, his rhetoric does appear to offer a logical strategy in the UK's search for sustained economic growth.