Government urged to promote economic and business growth across UK

The Government should draw up growth plans that are tailor-made for each city and region in the UK, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has recommended in a new report.

To achieve a better balanced economy, the private sector needs to grow throughout the UK, not only in London and the south-east, the CBI said, adding that while this would prove challenging in the north and west of the nation, it is possible to achieve.

Rather than working to promote and maximise potential growth within regions, the Government's economic policy for too long has overlooked private sector opportunities as it has been too concerned with closing the economic divide between regions, the new report from the CBI says.

The CBI points to successful businesses in all parts of the country, especially inside cities and towns where 75% of business takes place.

In Sunderland, for example, private sector jobs grew three times faster, at 10%, than they did in the overall north-east region between 1998 and 2008, which saw 3.4% jobs growth.

When carrying out policies, the Government should be more flexible and targeted, looking at how to increase economic growth at all levels - local, regional and national, the CBI recommends.

"In the rebalancing of our economy, every part of Britain needs to grow, and it is harder the further we go from London for the private sector to pick up the slack left by a retreating public sector. In some parts of the country the public sector is simply too big and the private sector has much heavy lifting still to do," said John Cridland, CBI director general.

He added: "But we mustn't just rely on the usual suspects - London and the south-east.

"It is possible, if the Government avoids a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to regional growth across the UK, and instead concentrates on boosting the private sector wherever pockets of potential are found in towns and cities within regions."

Among the ways the Government can improve economic growth, incentives could help to decrease the minimum bid threshold to 500,000 for the Regional Growth Fund, the CBI report says.

Copyright Press Association 2012