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BRC sets out ‘tests’ for government cuts

Wednesday October 20 2010

Trade body backs quango cuts, but stresses private sector importance to Spending Review

Trade body backs quango cuts, but stresses private sector importance to Spending Review

 

The government is right to plan reforms of public sector bodies so that only essential functions remain and they are delivered as efficiently as possible, according to industry body, the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

 

Reacting to last week’s Cabinet Office announcement, the BRC said today’s highly anticipated Comprehensive Spending Review must take the same approach.

 

The BRC said it has consistently argued that private sector businesses are the engine that will drive growth, with retail – the largest private sector employer – in the lead. To restore the public finances to health and allow the private sector to create the jobs that will replace those lost in the public sector it said it would be vital that the government creates an environment that encourages private sector investment.

 

The BRC's Retail Employment Monitor showed retailers employing 22,000 more people than a year ago, a trend that must be allowed to continue.

 

In advance of the review, the BRC published four key tests against which it will judge Government cuts plans.

 

Putting government policy to the test

 

It said the four ‘tests' all ask: “Will this measure enable retail to flourish?”

 

- by preserving the essential infrastructure for trading e.g. transport networks, education and skills, energy and water supplies, universal broadband, town centre management and development, housing and timely health care for our workforce?

 

- by reassuring our customers and enabling them to participate fully in society e.g. clear plans on which services/jobs will be preserved and how reductions will be introduced where cuts are necessary, equitable treatment of poorer households already managing over-stretched budgets, ‘rehabilitation' plans for those regions where the public sector currently employs a high proportion of the workforce?

 

- by stimulating and supporting innovation and increased productivity e.g. in R&D on new technologies and processes, stimulating emerging markets in green products and services, reducing bureaucracy and opening up new markets?

 

- by encouraging national and community cohesion so that we can all work together to rebuild the economy?

 

Stressing private sector strength

 

British Retail Consortium director of business and regulation, Tom Ironside, stated: "Only the private sector can deliver the jobs that will replace those lost in the public sector and the economic growth needed to tackle the deficit.

 

"Our key tests for cuts centre on whether they will help or hinder private sector growth. The Government is right to reform public sector bodies so that only essential functions remain and they are delivered as efficiently as possible. This approach must also underpin the Comprehensive Spending Review."