Preparing for the Recession

In Leeds today at the Conservative Councillors Association conference, I was interested to hear front benchers Caroline Spelman, Eric Pickles and Alan Duncan explaining the plans for the next Government.

But I was fascinated by Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive of Next plc, who talked about surviving the recession.

“The biggest overhead at Next” he said “is stock.” and he drew a similarity with the public sector, calling on local government to “get its costs right”.

His key message was that the recession won’t go on for ever – but what’s important is how we come out of it. What the Government does in the next two years is crucial,and it must stabilise the banking sector, rather than spending time on repairing its tarnished political reputation for its past mistakes.

As a timely illustration, he cited the fact that Labour has spent more time in the last two days worrying about the politics of Sir Fred Goodwin’s £600,000 pension than it has about the £350,000,000,000 of our money which they’ve pumped into the banks.

He suggested that Labour through this attitude turning a two year problem into a ten year problem.


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