The Budget may be a useful roadmap but it alone will not pave the path to prosperity
After a brisk photo call with the iconic red suitcase, the Chancellor presented the government’s roadmap for sustainable economic growth. But, amidst the promises, predictions and Chamber reactions, it’s important to remember that the prosperity of UK plc ultimately depends on its organisations, not its politicians.
We recently asked our Faces of a Vibrant Economy – representing a range of industries from the private, public and third sector – for their take on prosperity, wealth and job creation in the UK. What we found makes for reassuring reading. Some 72% of the Faces state that they expect to see an increase in profits over the next 12 months which is good news for job creation. Some 86% of the Faces said they plan to grow their teams over the next 12 months.
The extent to which the Faces expect to grow is also impressive with 48% predicting their profits will increase by more than 20% over the next year. When asked for the main driver behind this growth:
- 43% said ‘increased demand’
- 33% replied ‘selling in new markets’
- 23% of the Faces said ‘diversification of products.’
Speaking with the Faces, it is clear that – for many – the future prosperity of their organisations is closely tied to making a positive impact on wider society. Bevis Watts is UK managing director of Triodos Bank – a sustainable bank that only supports organisations having positive environmental, social and cultural impact in their work. He says the prosperity of his organisation is intertwined with offering an innovative product that gives customers choice on their financial partner.
“This year we launched the UK’s most sustainable current account,” says Bevis. “The response has been inspiring, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of the team that’s worked so hard to bring it to market… For many years now, consumers have had the opportunity to align their values with the food they choose to buy, the transport they take, and the energy they consume. Now they have that choice with their daily finances, using their money as a force for good that works towards positive social, cultural, and environmental change.”
Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways, a Bristol-based organisation that aims to build understanding between communities, takes a similar view. She says her organisation will continue to grow as long as it makes a real difference to people in the city. “I want to help build a future in which everyone shares the wealth of our city. At a time when we face unprecedented growing global threats from division and lack of tolerance for our differences, I want to build bridges, cross divides, celebrate and empower all our citizens so that they can connect and contribute positively to the growth and future of our city.”
While it’s natural for business leaders to speak optimistically about their prosperity prospects, the Faces were direct in how they plan to overcome the challenges that exist. Director of Digital Ventures at Curzon, Philip Mordecai says, “I’m bullish about Brexit because I’m confident that the brand will thrive in new markets. People always turn out for quality experiences.” This self-belief was echoed by Chris Wright, the chief executive of not-for-profit Catch22, “With money in tight supply, public policy needs to be imaginative in how it achieves its goals, and how it spends what it collects – that’s where Catch22 can help.”
The Chancellor’s roadmap may have set out a grand vision for where the country is heading, but it falls to UK’s businesses and leaders to fill in the gaps and make prosperity a reality. To find out more about how the Faces of a Vibrant Economy are doing just that, read more about their work here.