This week, the Centre for Policy Studies - the UK’s leading centre-right think tank - published a landmark report, written with the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, on how the economy can recover in the wake of the pandemic.
‘After the Virus’ is the first comprehensive study of how to repair the economic damage caused by Covid-19. Understandably, it has received a significant amount of media attention, including interviews with BBC News, the Today programme, Sky, LBC and the Sunday Times, and op-eds by the former Chancellor and the CPS team in the Telegraph, ConservativeHome, City AM and CapX.
But while the report contained more than 60 separate recommendations, it has one overriding theme: that in order to save the economy, we need to prioritise growth above all else. This is also a message that our Director, Robert Colvile, has been drumming home in editorials for the Times, Financial Times and in his new Sunday Times column.
Without growth, there is no way out of the coronavirus trap. Without growth, we cannot pay down our debts. Without growth, we cannot afford to keep funding our public services. Without growth, we will all have meaner, poorer lives.
Even before this crisis, a lack of growth was one of Britain’s most pressing problems. In the years since the financial crisis, GDP has risen by more than 2.5% on only one occasion - the worst performance since the Second World War. And even before the coronavirus crisis, the OBR’s forecasts had growth continuing to flatline at around 1.5%.
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, driving up the growth rate - and spreading growth more fairly around the country - has become an even more pressing concern. In fact, it is the most overwhelmingly important task for the Government. And that growth can ultimately come only from a robust private sector - from making every part of Britain a natural home for entrepreneurship and enterprise.
This is why our paper with the former Chancellor is not a one-off, but the launch of a new policy programme, ‘Going for Growth’, which will form the heart of the Centre for Policy Studies’ work going forward.
As Robert Colvile outlines today on CapX, we will be publishing a series of major papers over the coming year, focusing on how to unleash Britain’s economic potential and spread ownership and opportunity - in areas including tax, business, regulation and housing policy.