The economic recovery has finally taken hold, but serious doubts remain about its strength, its sustainability and its ability to deliver improved living standards for all. In this hard-hitting critique of the UK's growth prospects, entrepreneur and economist John Mills warns that the current economic model is unsustainable and risks years of stagnation. By the time of the 2015 general election, living standards will still be lower than they were before the recession and total government debt will be approaching 100 per cent of GDP. The optimism generated by rising house prices could soon give way to anxiety about the widening balance of payments deficit and the need to raise interest rates.
Whatever the immediate outlook, the UK is saddled with an economy which consumes too much, invests too little and which cannot pay its way in the world. But there is an alternative to this unpromising future. Here, Mills sets out an economic roadmap that could transform the UK's long-term prospects within five years, by rebalancing our economy in favour of exports, rebuilding our manufacturing base and weaning the nation off its dependency on borrowing. It is a radical manifesto which demands an end to the short-termist consensus that has dominated Treasury thinking for far too long. Mills charts a path to an economy growing at 4% to 5% a year, bringing down unemployment, increasing investment, boosting living standards and reducing inequality. The only question that remains is whether the government elected in 2015 is prepared to seize the challenge with the clarity of purpose to see it through.