Below is the November edition of our monthly newsletter. The newsletter is sent out to Business Council members and friends of the Jobs Foundation. You can find out more about the Business Council here.
In Praise of Business
November has been another busy month for the Jobs Foundation, bringing to a close what we term internally as ‘Phase 1’ of our journey. The elements of this launch phase were our media launch in July, where we unveiled our wonderful Advisory Council, and brilliant launch video; our launch reception in September, with the brilliant Andy Haldane and Gillian Keegan MP; and finally, this month, I delivered a lecture ‘In Praise of Business’ where I outlined some of the intellectual underpinning to the Jobs Foundation. We were then able to celebrate the successful completion of Phase 1 at our Annual Dinner, where Fraser Nelson gave an illuminating overview of the current political and economic situation, and the vital role business has to play in moving people from welfare into work.
The next phase of our work at the Jobs Foundation involves building and research: building our Business Council, who will form the network for us to deliver our charitable objects; and researching the best examples of businesses who have specific programmes aimed at helping people on their journey into work and training, so others can learn from and be inspired by their example. At the bottom of this bulletin, you can read about a business that has an outstanding track record of helping people in their community. Hiut Denim is a company trying to bring jean production back to a small town in Wales, and in the process create jobs that seemed lost forever just a few years ago. Their story is inspirational and demonstrates the power of business to do good by creating jobs.
With Georgiana kindly letting me hold the pen for this month’s newsletter, I can’t let this opportunity pass without commending her for overseeing the successful launch of the Jobs Foundation. As the Jobs Foundation’s CEO, she has worked diligently over the past two years to get us to where we are today. Lots of people have ideas for new organisations (‘If only there was a charity that did this…’), but very few people have the tenacity and drive to get them off the ground. Chapeau!
As ever, if this bulletin sparks any thoughts/ideas/questions, please do drop us a line. And of course, if you haven’t already, please consider joining our Business Council here.
President, The Jobs Foundation
Matthew Elliott at Legatum and Fraser Nelson at the Travellers Club
At the beginning of the month, our President Matthew Elliott was invited to give a lecture at the Legatum Institute entitled ‘In Praise of Business’.
Matthew used his speech to outline how the business community can make the case that business is a force for good by focussing on the jobs they create, the taxes they pay, and the training opportunities they provide. He railed against a snobbery about business and entrepreneurs that is particularly acute in Britain. He noted the incredible contribution many entrepreneurs had made to human civilisation, from the combustion engine to the search engine, from the megaphone to the iPhone.
He talked of his own motivation for backing businesses as a force for good, “One of the great privileges of my career has been meeting people from the business community. Entrepreneurs who have built incredible companies that employ thousands of people in Britain and across the globe. Industrialists who have climbed the corporate ladder and now shepherd some of Britain’s blue-chip companies. Third generation descendants who first worked on the shop floor and then took the reins of their family business. And small business owners who are as much the cornerstone of their local community as the parish priest, the publican, or the policeman. I have never lost my sense of awe for someone who wakes up, goes to work, builds a business, creates jobs, while providing excellent service to their customers and helping their local community.”
Later in the month, editor of The Spectator Fraser Nelson delivered the speech at the annual Jobs Foundation dinner. Fraser has been a long-time advocate for the importance of work in our economy and society. Under his stewardship, the Spectator has regularly published articles criticising the level of economic inactivity across the country and arguing for policies that help people get in to work .
Fraser delivered a tour-de-force, touching on everything from politics, the state of the economy, our attitude to business and the Spectator’s own efforts to celebrate innovative businesses in Britain. He talked about lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, the language of business policy, the importance of welfare reform under the Coalition Government, the dividing lines ahead of the next General Election, how much he loved his work and how colleagues had become like a second family.
In a memorable section of his speech, he said “Language is very important… When you start to see businesses as employers, you suddenly have a much stronger social contract… [alleviating poverty] is what business can do when it is properly harnessed.”
The King’s Speech and Autumn Statement
It has also been a busy month in Westminster. At the beginning of November, His Majesty the King delivered a speech to both Houses of Parliament outlining the Government’s legislative agenda for the next 12 months. As regular readers of this newsletter will know, the Jobs Foundation is apolitical. We don’t take sides in politics or between parties. We are instead on the side of business.
We are happy to report that the King’s Speech included plenty of pro-business gestures, including plans to host a Global Investment Summit, a bill to promote trade and investment with economies in the fastest growing region in the world, a focus on negotiating trade arrangements that will deliver jobs and growth to Britain, new legal frameworks to support the safe commercial development of emerging industries, and legislation to support the creative industries.
We were also happy to hear plans being developed in the Department for Work and Pensions to help get people currently out of work, into work. The Jobs Foundation was founded on the principle that work is the best route out of poverty. A job is far more than just an income, it is a source of structure, independence, social interaction, dignity, and status. Labour market figures show the number of people unemployed in the UK has increased by 240,000 since last November. We want policy makers at all levels of Government to double down on efforts to support businesses create more jobs across the country, helping people avoid the tragedy of unemployment.
On the 22nd November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP delivered his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons. The Autumn Statement is an opportunity for the Government to update the country on their plan for the economy with new forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. We were happy to see that the OBR estimated measures included in the Autumn Statement will increase business investment by £14 billion and boost employment by 78,000 by the end of the forecast period.
The Chancellor’s speech to the House was infused with plenty of pro-business rhetoric. He outlined 110 measures designed to back business and stimulate growth. These measures removed red tape, supported entrepreneurs raise capital, unlock foreign investment, boost productivity, and cut business taxes. From our discussion with Business Council members, these are all welcome policy initiatives.
Business Spotlight: Hiut Denim Co.
Hiut Denim is a jeans manufacturing firm based in Cardigan, Wales. It was set-up because it’s founder David Hieatt wanted to bring manufacturing back to a town that had lost its last clothes factory more than 20 years ago. Cardigan used to have about 400 people making 35,000 pairs of jeans per week.
Today Hiut has 18 people based at their factory (with plans to grow the business to 400 people). They put an onus on producing quality jeans and call their sewers Grand Masters. They sum up their commitment to being a great business and a great employer when they say, “For us, quality is not just about using the finest materials, but it is the philosophy behind everything we do: how we look after our people, how we treat our customers, how we conduct ourselves as people.”
As shown by Hiut Denim’s incredible story, business is a powerful force for good because they:
• create jobs,
• provide training,
• fund public services.
The Jobs Foundation, as a charity, is built upon a movement of business leaders from across Britain united in championing the good that business does. Business Council members will be given the opportunity to:
• attend regular events with like-minded business leaders,
• provide input into our research programme,
• be showcased in case studies to inspire other businesses.
Please join this movement today, by signing up here. Membership of the Business Council is entirely private and there is no fee.