divisiveness it encourages. Low productivity is a measurement to
prove the point.
Social provision is distributed in packages convenient to Whitehall’s
power structure, with too little coordination at a local level to build
ladders of aspiration in our most deprived communities.
Half a century of stop-go economies has widened our regional
imbalance. The economy expanded much faster in London and the
South East and had to be reined back long before the ‘go’ reached
much of provincial England. The evidence in our industrial towns is
there for anyone to see.
We have too many local authorities, too much overlap and too
little experimentation, choice or discretion. Their disciplines are
functional. The economics of place and the strategies to support
them change often with every new minister, let alone every new
government. Enterprise is used to define the private sector. This
ignores the benefits that can flow from the enterprise of those
employed in the public sector in changing and improving the quality
of public service. Too easily a focus on the enterprise of private sector
companies fails to embrace the contributions that the public sector
can bring to creating the culture and background against which those
companies can themselves flourish.
In the private sector, the representative bodies are more pressure
groups than support systems. They are a pale shadow of those of
our competitors. They represent only a fraction of local companies
and, in practice, that fraction embrace our best, export-orientated
competitive companies. The problem lies elsewhere with companies
that have little ambition and are content to just manage and survive.
As I write this report, the shadow of Brexit hangs like the darkest
storm cloud over our body politic. Whitehall, the powerhouse of our
society, is paralysed by indecision. The overwhelming majority of our
citizens have no idea how the negotiations with the European Union
will end. We will either leave or remain but, either way, the need to
make our country competitive contains its own imperative. I believe