The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has released its latest predictions on the state of the UK economy. While its forecast matches our current weather reports in its gloomy outlook, there is one glimmer of light – the CBI Director General, James Cridland, makes the claim that “we are beginning to see the return of organic growth.”
Although the CBI forecast states that government borrowing will increase, economic growth will still be slow, inflation will rise and unemployment will remain high, Mr Cridland believes that companies are getting better at “offering the right products into the right markets” which is leading to a gradual growth in sales.
We spend a lot of time on this blog highlighting the problems facing young people today as they try to establish themselves in the work place and the lack of jobs available to those leaving education is one of the biggest problems they have had to contend with. While we believe that better education is essential to equip young people with the skills they need to build and manage their own independent lives, the prolonged lack of growth in the economy has hit them particularly hard.
Last week, the government said that it wants to include financial education on the National Curriculum and much of the debate since has been about how that should be taught. Helping pupils to understand the importance of getting a job, and how work is the means by which they can achieve their aspirations, is a crucial element in financial education, but they also need the skills and knowledge to see them through the very difficult process of finding employment in a jobs market that has little to offer them.
There is no guarantee that the CBI will be correct in its assumptions – there are many caveats in the forecast about the threats to the economy from the Eurozone and international markets which mean things have the potential to get a lot worse before they get better – but it would certainly give young people something to hope for if these “grounds for cautious optimism” were to continue to grow.