Grant Thornton calls on government to focus on collaboration

Chris Frostwick, practice leader and partner at Grant Thornton’s East Midlands regional office in Leicester

Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has launched a set of recommendations to the new government, calling for collaboration to be at the heart of the UK’s overall strategy and approach.

Chris Frostwick, practice leader of Grant Thornton’s East Midlands office in Leicester, says this approach will drive building a positive future, opportunities, and a vibrant economy for the UK, and that here in the East Midlands, this should be led by initiatives and models that cultivate regionwide collaboration:

“We encourage collaboration, and therefore welcome Theresa May’s commitment to engage on a cross party basis on issues such as the future of work. At a local level, models that are great examples of how well this can work are LEPs and the Midlands Engine, both of which chime with our regional business communities as they deliver a targeted, localised approach. The government must improve its support to enable the creation of more models and enterprises like these, and make funding available, which in turn will encourage more business input to decision making.”

He adds: “We recently asked the East Midlands’ top performing and most profitable 200 businesses how they are finding business conditions today compared to 12 months ago, and the vast majority said they are finding things more difficult.”

According to Grant Thornton’s East Midlands survey, 65% of Leicestershire businesses, 46% of Nottinghamshire businesses and 74% of Lincolnshire businesses are finding business conditions slightly tougher than this time last year.

“On average, almost a third (32%) of businesses across Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire told us that recruiting the right people for their business is also a big barrier to growth,” explains Chris, “whilst 38% believe opening up new markets for their existing products or services will drive growth in the coming 12 months.

“To create a vibrant economy and positive future it is clear that East Midlands businesses need more help from the government to cultivate growth and ensure their sustainability.”

Over the past 18 months, Grant Thornton has brought together people, communities and leaders from across the UK, representing the interests of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, to collaboratively share their ideas on what will help shape a vibrant economy.

Chris adds: “The firm has grounded its recommendations to government on these interactions and conversations which are focused on the key areas of trust, growth and place; and has proposed a number of actionable recommendations to build a positive future and a society that creates opportunities for all.

“The UK is at a pivotal point in its history. There are big macro issues to address. Technology is transforming industries, the nature of work is changing and we must support an ageing population and transform our public services to meet changing needs, whilst negotiating our future relationship with the EU and trading relationships across the world.

“There is also huge opportunity. Our economy has long-standing strengths: an innovative service sector, creative industries and advanced manufacturing, with many great examples of these types of businesses here in the East Midlands listed in our Top 200 Report that was published last month.

“By supporting the region’s ambitious, profitable businesses and those across the UK, we can all help build a positive future and a society that creates opportunities for all.”

Grant Thornton’s recommendations to government: Shaping a Vibrant Economy: a blueprint for the UK nationally includes, four main recommendation themes:

  • Unleashing purpose in business and financial markets
  • Putting collaboration at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy
  • Equipping towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies
  • Measuring success not by GDP alone but by a basket of statistical indicators – a Vibrant Economy Index.