Founder, Sterling-Bond Escrow Services & Rumbler Cars
"All the social, economic and environmental problems facing the world today can be solved,
the problem is that the solutions are not politically-correct."
In response to this week's proposal from Northern cities of England for the One North plan to stimulate the regional economy by spending public money on additional or improved road, rail and sea communications links. Here is an alternative view of the benefits and dangers of public spending at a delicate moment in the country's economic recovery.
Will large-scale public investment programmes really work for the British economy? There are better alternatives.
For the last few years we've seen and read of the campaigns by regional and national politicians for the development of large-scale infrastructure projects such as HS2 and the newly-announced One North plan to deliver improvements in communications between the major cities and regions. According to their campaigners this will cost tens of thousands of millions of pounds but stimulate local economies, offering a range of benefits to improved communications and job prospects.
I believe this is a tremendous waste of opportunity and investment at a critical and delicate time in this country's economic recovery.
If the government are to be believed we are now seeing the first shoots of a small recovery in the economy. This should be a time for optimism and the opportunity to look and plan forward into a future of investment in further recovery for growth. With huge sums of government money being discussed we ought to be looking at how best to invest such money for the most effective gain in the economy. Is a railway train or a new road really the best use of taxpayers money at this time?
For the last couple of years I have been developing an alternative UK economic recovery plan. Not based on public works projects but on investment in and development of new innovations that offer the maximum return on investment for our export economy - the hundreds of thousands of jobs we can create and the thousands of millions we can earn in exports to continue our economic recovery and prevent it stalling.
This is where I believe the government strategies fail and let the country down badly - virtually nothing of government money for infrastructure programmes will find its way into any form of exportable product, service or sustainable economic benefit. There is every chance they will become a massive and useless drain on the country's weakened resources.
If our economy is to have a sustainable recovery we must focus all our attention on those activities, industries and investments that will have an immediate direct effect on employment, production and export to pay our way in the world, repay our debts and revive our productive industries.
However glamorous and exciting it appears to invest tens of thousands of millions in rail and road, they produce nothing, no new innovations, no new products, no new sustainable businesses and no new sustainable jobs from any direct investment. At this stage they are a luxury we cannot afford.
In contrast to this I have been working on my own innovations and recovery programme for a fraction of the cost. This offers tremendous rewards for the long term benefit of the country and a far greater return for each pound invested in new innovation, employment and growth compared to the money that is being advocated for public works programmes.
My recent work has been focussed on the developments in the car industry. Today the British car industry is booming and there are ample opportunities to design, build and deliver a new products for world markets. The cost of such a plan is tiny compared to HS2 and yet the potential international earnings are enormous, estimated in excess of five thousand million (£5 milliard) pounds from an investment of twenty-five million. That is a return to the country of £200 for every £1 invested within a few years. Compare this to the estimated return from HS2. Here it's been suggested by some sources that for every £1 invested HS2 it might return £2.50 to the economy in benefits and it will take decades to achieve that very small benefit.
Whereas a public investment programme, public tax money, will do nothing directly for exports today, investment in exportable products and productive industry can begin to deliver huge rewards far greater than the return on their investment and they can do so very quickly. This offers new job prospects and the added income for the Treasury to improve public services and perhaps pay for those road and rail, or better alternatives, in a much shorter timescale than waiting decades for delivery of a new road or railway line.
This is a critical issue. How do we invest public money for the best benefit of the economy? Infrastructure programmes are important, but they cannot be allowed to dominate the public agenda when we are doing so little to revive a long neglected productive manufacturing and service economy. Roads and rail do not produce, they do not deliver new goods or services to the world, they do not earn foreign capital to repay our debts, they do not offer new investment in new technology, new innovation, new design, new industry.
However appealing a big project appears they are not critical to the country's immediate future. Britain has tremendous potential, proven over the centuries, for innovation, discovery and design in science, technology and the arts. If the government, central, regional, and local are to invest their time and effort it ought to be in how best to help nurture and encourage the flames of a new economic revival in productivity, not in unproductive projects.
Michael Bond is designer of the Rumbler Sport Car, (www.Rumbler.co.uk) a new concept in off-road adventure car design for wealthy enthusiasts and collectors around the world. His background includes over a decade's work in the finance sector where he begin to draw up plans for a new economic strategy to stimulate the revival of the UK economy. The Rumbler Sport Tank is the first step in delivering that strategy by stimulating new technology investment for export.
As a former finance specialist over the last few years he has focussed his attention on the development of an alternative economic strategy for the UK and world economy through the stimulus of new technology innovation, design and the arts.
In his estimation the true unappreciated economic potential of the UK is enough to solve all UK economic, social and environmental problems without additional increases in taxation or regulation. This is the basis of the Commonwealth Prosperity Plan, a "Plan B" for Britain.
Learn more about the prosperity plan from the HOME PAGE.
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[Key words, etc: These pages are subject to frequent changes. Subject matter relates to the economic strategies of the British government, with regard to the banking financial crisis, the ongoing austere recession and factors to revive the economy through such measures as quantitative easing, tax cuts, reduction in planning permissions and much more. Benefits of the Prosperity Include large-scale employment solution to the national housing crisis, protection of the green belts and countryside against urbanisation.]