Row erupts as Hague tells businesses to work harder

Monday, 14 May 2012 09:19

By Kay Carson

William Hague has blasted business leaders for complaining about the state of the economy and has suggested that they work harder.

In an article published in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, the foreign secretary said: “There’s only one growth strategy: work hard.”

He said the UK needed “do more with less. That’s the 21st Century… We’re trying to rescue the work ethic just in the nick of time.”

Taking a swipe at Britain’s business bosses, Mr Hague said: “They should be getting on with the task of creating more of those jobs and more of those exports, rather than complaining about it.”

Defence secretary Phillip Hammond also waded in to the debate over the weekend, accusing large companies of not investing enough in the UK’s economic recovery.

Mr Hammond told the BBC: “Large businesses are sitting on a pretty large pile of cash.

“What we have got to try to do is persuade businesses to take the plunge, to just use some of their cash pile, to take a judgment about where demand is going, where the economy is going in the future, and be prepared to back their judgment with investment in British jobs and capacity in the British economy.”

But the British Chambers of Commerce said businesses are “straining every sinew” to deliver growth.

Adam Marshall, BCC director of policy, said: “Businesses up and down the country are busting a gut to find new growth opportunities, both at home and around the world.

“And many companies, both large and small, think that government could do more.”

Dr Marshall added: “The Government needs to recognise that it is a major customer, a maker of markets, and the guardian of Britain’s infrastructure and skills policies.

“Unless it acts boldly to discharge those responsibilities, rather than tinkering at the margins, UK business won't be able to deliver up to its full potential.”


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