GOVERNMENT strategy for tackling underlying problems in the British economy were outlined in Kendal by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.
The President of the Board of Trade told 250 business leaders and local authority officers and councillors the economy had suffered the equivalent of a ‘massive heart attack’ in 2008/9, which had left a legacy of a damaged banking system and a large structural defecit.
Although it was now clear that the economy was recovering, it was ‘still on life support’, Mr Cable told guests at the South Lakeland Partners’ Networking Dinner at the Castle Green Hotel.
Problems included a serious shortage of skilled people and small firms stuggling to get hold of finance.
Mr Cable said the Government was moving to introduce a tax system which was better for business and he challenged company bosses to go to him with an alternative way of taxing firms locally other than business rates.
The Government needed to reduce red tape and it was also important to develop long-term industrial startegies that thought beyond just a few years ahead.
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More trained perople were needed. “We have horirbly neglected the 60 per cent of people who don’t go to universities,” said Mr Cable. To help boost vocational training, the government had relaunched apprenticeships.
And there was a need to find a way of getting more finance to small and medium-sized companies.
Mr Cable said South Lakeland - ‘without doubt the most beautiful part of England’ - had a good blend of effective local government and a very strong Chamber of Commerce.
He concluded that national Government could do a certain amount but ultimately the efforty had to come from local communiites and buisnesses working together, which he said was ‘something you do here very well’.
The event was organised by the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce in partnership with South Lakeland District Council.