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2020 Productivity and Efficiency Commission launched by Conservative group

A commission looking into how to create resilient and stable growth in the UK economy has been launched by a Conservative parliamentary group, with resource efficiency as one of its key areas of focus.

The 2020 Productivity and Efficiency Commission, set up by the 2020 Conservatives - said to be a centre-left group of 40 politicians - will investigate opportunities for economic growth through a series of round tables. It will produce a report in the autumn for the chancellor, George Osborne.

The launch welcomed by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) minister Greg Barker, a founder of the 2020 group.

“If we want to be resilient, if we want to grow, if we want to have a UK offer in the global race then we have to crack these questions: about productivity, efficiency, driving competition – but at the same time driving a more resilient and sustainable economy,” said Barker.

In a statement, Osborne said: “We want the UK to have the fittest, most productive economy when the global economy starts to take pace, with the policies in place to drive up productivity, tackle waste in our economy, ensure the best use of resources and raw materials and significantly reduce energy waste.”

Laura Sandys MP

Commission chair Laura Sandys MP (left), said: “I am really concerned about European economies as we move out of this very difficult economic stage, what we might end up doing is replicating a business model cast in the 19th century. What we have to do is use the difficult times that we have been facing to recast the business model to make sure we are delivering [up-to-date systems].”

She said the commission will look at new paradigms of measuring economic growth, including using growth in profit margins rather than top line revenues, and qualitative metrics for productivity including energy or waste saved.

David Ruffley MP, another member of the five-strong commission, said he wanted to develop the issue of stimulating demand for secondary markets.  

Another concept that will be explored is a new risk analysis system for businesses, encompassing resource insecurity as a commercial risk.

Sandys said the commission was keen to hear case studies from countries that are economically similar. Barker echoed this: “What will be really useful about this exercise is to identify exactly who those countries are and what it is that they have done.” He urged the commission to learn from the experience of other “similar-shaped markets”.

Sandys said it would explore these ideas in three round tables focused on: vulnerabilities, opportunities, and metrics to help drive policies.

The three other members of the commission are Baroness Wheatcroft and MPs Nicola Blackwood and Stephen Barclay.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF said: “We have to demonstrate to our member companies and beyond the benefits that innovative thinking and policies bring – and how they can exploit it.”

  • The first round table will be held in mid-July. Members of the waste and recycling industry have been invited to make contributions.  

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