Like most people, I followed the recent rioting on TV and was saddened by it all. The saddest thing about it was that I was not particularly surprised by it. We live in a country in which people expect the Government to take care of everything. Unfortunately, government is not working.
In schools, the teachers cannot properly discipline children. Parents cannot effectively discipline children either. When they leave school and go to work, they are overprotected by employment law. Then when they riot, is it any wonder that copycat rioters see what is happening on TV and think it is OK to steal and damage other people’s property?
Over the last 10-15 years, there has been a steady rise in immigration in the UK and these immigrants, hungry for work, have taken many of the unskilled jobs while unemployment in the indigenous population has steadily risen.
Politicians talk tough but the reality is they are more interested in being popular with the electorate than doing what is right for the country. A massive “get real” shake-up is needed. The Government is still borrowing £1bn every two days. The cutbacks have not really begun yet. If they had, we would all really be feeling it.
Here are some of the things I think Government should do.
In the first instance, it has to spend less than it is receiving. The public sector has to be radically overhauled and reduced in size. Those gold-plated public sector final salary pension schemes have to be replaced immediately with money-purchase pension schemes and not simply tinkered with.
Businesses have to be boosted, especially small businesses. Red tape needs to be reduced. Employment and HR law and regulations need to be made more employer-friendly.
How about some pro-business laws instead of the constant stream of pro-employee laws?
Do these measures seem a bit drastic? Well, I don’t think so. Let me explain why.
We now live in a global economy. Our competitors are not our high-street rivals but our overseas competitors. Emerging economies such as China and India generally have a hard-working population, no welfare state, much less bureaucracy, highly educated people and employees with a disciplined, proactive, “go the extra mile” attitude. They are hungry. They have a fantastic work ethic and attitude.
How do I know? Well, I have attended a number of business courses this year and met some highly successful overseas businesspeople who became rich in spite of the handicap of being born in much poorer countries. Much of their success is based on internet marketing.
The ones who are keen to learn and to get on are the new immigrants or British-born children of immigrants. These are the people largely who will succeed in the future.
Tony Byrne is financial planning director at Wealth And Tax Management