Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

Lord Mandelson speaks

Posted by Chris Clarke on November 25, 2008

This morning I was at a briefing by Lord Mandelson at the London Chambers of Commerce on yesterday’s pre-budget report. The honesty and pragmatism of the briefing was refreshing. Agree with the measures in the pre-budget report or not, you can’t deny that the Government has undertaken a vigorous policy response to the current economic crisis. Seemingly unhindered by doctrine, unhindered by dogma, underhindered by mainstream economic philosophy that has dominated since 1979, the Government has swiftly taken measures – including the recapitalisation of banks, the reduction of VAT, increased income tax pledges – that would have been unthinkable only a year ago.

However, the question remains, will all of this work? The answer both from Government and industry is broadly ‘wait and see’.  Nonetheless, the Government’s policy instinct – as Mandelson said – is that something needed to be done.  And that just letting events unfold was not an option.   Let’s hope the mix of policy interventions proves to be the right recipe.

However, it is clear that government can not solely stimulate growth.  The challenge for businesses now is to survive and thrive in what is likely going to be a zero or low-growth economic environment for a number of years. This is no time just to ride the tide of a growing market. Instead, all of us need to focus on offering new services, reaching in to new sectors and responding to the changing needs of clients and customers in real-time.

Differentiate or die becomes an even greater truism for all of us in today’s new economic age.

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