Budget: O’Neill report to support productivity ambitions

A Plan for Productivity penned by Jim O’Neill, Manchester economist and commercial secretary to the Treasury, is set to be announced on Friday, as part of the Government’s strategy to make Britain “the most prosperous major economy in the world”.

In his second Budget of 2015, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that boosting productivity was “the key to delivering the financial security families see when living standards rise”.

In March, Manchester economist and city devolution advocate Jim O’Neill was appointed commercial secretary to the Treasury by Osborne. O’Neill is a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, advisor to Great Manchester authorities and former chairman of the City Growth Commission which is often cited by Osborne.

During the Budget speech, Osborne said: “I turn now to the great economic challenge we face on productivity, for this is the key to delivering the financial security families see when living standards rise, and it will ensure Britain becomes what we want it to be – the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s.

“That is within the grasp of our generation, provided we take the big decisions.

“On Friday we will set out our Plan for Productivity to help realise this ambition, and I want to thank my new Treasury colleague Jim O’Neill for his work as a world-leading economist in putting it together.

“Major British businesses led by Sir Charlie Mayfield, have told me they want to be part of the solution to this great challenge and we very much welcome that.”

Key parts of the plan are set to include investment in transport and skills, such as increased incentives for apprenticeships.

To support road improvements, Osborne announced that by 2020 all revenue for vehicle excise duty would be channelled into a new roads fund, “to pay for the sustained investment our roads so badly need”.

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