Economic growth ‘must be priority’

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Politicians need to be more business orientated and “economically literate” if the UK is to achieve sustainable economic growth, according to an industry leader.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will make a strong case for economic growth when he addresses the group’s annual conference today.

“It may be obvious to us in this room why ‘great growth’ is so important, but surprisingly there are many people out there who do not get it, do not subscribe to it, and do not think it is the most important thing for the UK.

“The simple fact is that it is only through wealth creation – through sustainable, ‘great growth’ – that we can afford all of the things we want like the green agenda, defence, emergency services, overseas aid, education, a social safety net and the NHS.

“I have said it before and I cannot repeat it enough – achieving sustainable great growth should be and must be the number one priority of any government, and our political class needs to be more economically literate and business orientated. G reat growth is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he will say.

Mr Longworth will also make a plea for more to be done to forge links between business and education.

“The schools system must throw up and prepare those individuals who have academic ability, but who do not currently have access to universities, by whatever means, for the sake of the economy.

“If that requires education tailored to ability and aptitude, then the educational establishment need to get over it.

“But it’s not at the pure academic end of the spectrum of our talent pool that we have the greatest problems. Some educational institutions do a great job linking with employers, but far too many have lost the vocational plot.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Education Secretary Michael Gove are among the keynote speakers at the conference, as well as shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

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