Monday, 22 October 2007

Catching my eye

Three articles today really caught my eye and are worth reading

Anatole Katetsky, in the Times, is one of my favourite, most respected economic commentators. His Black clouds loom on the horizon after years of plenty is pretty scary stuff. The main body of the article points towards some very difficult times ahead. Anatole ends with "Which brings me finally to the “unknown unknowns”, which have suddenly made the economic outlook for Britain even more uncertain, but also more alarming. All of the policy U-turns of the past few weeks, the random and uncoordinated tax reforms, ............. Suppose the recent tax reforms blow up in the Government’s face and end up yielding less revenue than expected.
After the events of the past few weeks, it is easy to imagine such “unknown unknowns” – and all of them spell bad news. "

Of course, the "random and uncoordinated tax reforms" referred to relate to the CGT tax changes that so embittered us - and many others. A meeting is being held today with Alistair Darling and CBI, IoD, BCC and Federation of Small Business. Can Darling really risk a U-turn? Mind you it would be nice if Digby Jones said something publicly in support of the universal business opposition. Digby is not known for his restraint but now that he has his peerage and, having accepted the Govt's whip, must clearly keep his mouth shut. But I thought Digby's new role in Govt. was to SUPPORT business? Shame on you Digby!

Finally, anybody who cares about the state of UK IT and the education of our children, will be both interested and support the "Revitalise IT programme" outlined in the FT today. (No link available - will post when it becomes available on the site) "The IT professional workforce has almost doubled in the past 12 years from 550,000 to around 1m, but the number of students choosing to take IT-related degrees has halved since 2001".

This is something I have been banging on about for many years. Indeed I served on a workgroup last year which Logica's Martin Read and the CBI had establshed to investgate and put forward proposals to help arrest this. The IT industry should shoulder its share of the blame for this situation though. For many years the very companies quoted in the FT article had abandoned their UK graduate recruitment programmes. Still, better late than never, I guess.

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