Recorded at the Battle of ideas 2015.
While the UK economy has
recovered from the economic crisis, few would argue that the recovery
is built on strong foundations. Wages are only just starting to rise in
real terms after a number of years of decline. Economic output remains
weak compared to previous recoveries, and the state is still spending
almost £90 billion a year more than it receives in tax. A particular
concern for economists is low productivity – the amount of wealth
produced by each worker – which is well below that of other countries
and 15 per cent below where it would have been if pre-crisis trends had
Yet across the main political parties there seems little vision of
how the UK economy could look different in five, 10 or 20 years’ time.
The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has made much play
about the creation of a ‘northern powerhouse’. The HS2 railway has
cross-party support, but many [...]