William Hague tells bosses to work harder


Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he agreed with Mr Hague's comments

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on bosses to stop "complaining" about the economy and work harder.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Hague said: "There's only one growth strategy: work hard."

He said the UK needed to "reorientate" itself, when it came to exports, towards expanding economies such as India, Thailand and Indonesia.

But the British Chambers of Commerce said businesses were already "busting a gut" and the government could do more.

Labour said it was "ministers" who needed to "work harder".

'Rescue the work ethic'

Mr Hague's comments come after the coalition announced moves designed to boost economic growth.

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, said he agreed with Mr Hague.

He told BBC One's Sunday Politics: "Government can't create growth, it can create the conditions for growth but we're only going to be able to do this if we all work harder.

"The world has changed and our competition has changed and I think the only way we can pull out of this is by us all working harder."

But Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman has said Mr Hague will have "infuriated" people with his comments.

Interviewed for BBC Radio 5 live's Pienaar's Politics, she said: "Many businesses who feel they are really putting their shoulder to the wheel, feel that they can't expand their businesses in the way they want to, because the banks won't lend to them.

"The difficulty is if the banks won't lend, if economic demand is flattened because of the government's macro-economic policies, then people are going to be saying 'well you should be doing your job as the government, not telling us how to do ours'."

Mr Hague said in the Telegraph article: "There's only one growth strategy: work hard.

Start Quote

Get on the plane, go and sell things overseas, go and study overseas”

End Quote William Hague Foreign Secretary

"And do more with less - that's the 21st Century... We're trying to rescue the work ethic just in the nick of time."

He said the economy was undergoing "rebalancing", with the private sector growing while public sector jobs declined.

"They should be getting on with the task of creating more of those jobs and more of those exports, rather than complaining about it."

He also said that changes to benefits, such as the universal credit and a benefit cap, "will be seen in the 2020s as being as important to this country as the trade union reforms and privatisations were of the 1980s.

"This is as fundamental as that."

Asked if his comments could be compared to Lord Tebbit's "on your bike" message to the unemployed in the 1980s, Mr Hague said: "It's more than that.

"It's 'get on the plane, go and sell things overseas, go and study overseas'.

"It's much more than getting on the bike, the bike didn't go that far. 'Get on the jet'."

'Out-of-touch ministers'

But Adam Marshall, director of policy at business organisation the British Chambers of Commerce, told the BBC: "Businesses up and down the country are busting a gut to find new growth opportunities, both at home and around the world.

Foreign Secretary William Hague William Hague said expanding economies had huge potential for UK exporters

"To borrow a phrase from a politician, businesses are already 'straining every sinew' to deliver growth. And many companies, both large and small, think that government could do more.

"The government needs to recognise that it is a major customer, a maker of markets, and the guardian of Britain's infrastructure and skills policies.

"Unless it acts boldly to discharge those responsibilities, rather than tinkering at the margins, UK business won't be able to deliver up to its full potential."

Shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said ministers should stop blaming other people for their mistakes.

"The Conservatives said after the local elections that they had got the message," he said.

"Instead, these out-of-touch government ministers are burying their heads in the sand and just want to blame everybody else for the fact their economic plan has failed.

"The truth is it's ministers who need to 'work harder' - at getting an economy that promotes growth and creates jobs."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Hague is sitting in his office, talking a lot but doing very little, with the coalition causing this country to fall into another depression and then he has the nerve to tell others to work harder. Acting by example might be something for him to consider.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    Work Harder
    When a Dog and a teenager earn £500,000 in ten minutes.
    When it's OK to spend £22,000,000 on a pile of iron.
    When money is no object for the Olympics.
    When the Queen gets a two day party for her birthday.
    When we can't get an aircraft carrier right.
    I didn't know it was all my fault for slacking and moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    157. Name Number 6

    You seem to forget the Trade Unions had a strangle hold over the country making us in-flexible and uncompetitive exactly when the rest of the world started to become competitive. Result we lost,

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

    Kenneth Boulding, economist

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

    Albert A. Bartlett, physicist.

    There will be NO RECOVERY.

    Fractional reserve banking is about to change your whole way of life.

    Wake Up!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    The old Communist East German Government once complained about the hopeless population it was their misfortune to govern. Brecht suggested they should elect another one. Wonder why that comes to mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    This country once had an abundance of dynamic business people who made things that other countries wanted to buy, and they went out and sold to them. Now we produce little that others want to buy, but we still expect them to come to us, and then blame our politicians when they don't. It was too good for too long and we've been over taken. It IS time to work harder and stop moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    I get it, try to get everyone to work harder, more hours etc, pay more tax, both direct and indirect, pay more for consumables, household bills, fuel and most other everyday items we all need, which are all going up in price.
    This is a sure fire way of boosting the economy and more importantly growth......WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    I agree with Hague - but I can see this is "red rag to the bull" polemic.

    This boring "class war" attitude that pervades the the "working class" - from which I origniate - is totally self-defeating.

    I also felt inadequate, unable to make a success of my life without my tribe. It's natural, but I got sick of it - the poverty and the boredom. I applied myself and so can you.

    Now I am the boss.

  • Comment number 160.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    We don't need to work harder as much as we need to work smarter. To work smarter we need the infrastructure. To get the infrastructure in place we need government by intelligent people who can organise access to world markets via world class super fast broadband facilities throughout the country. People should not be jetting about the planet on planes but saving resources by video conferencing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    Well done. Many on this HYS just moan and bleet out sheepish dogma, when the only way out of this Downturn is hard work. Something a lot of people dont know about, spoilt children

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    He also said that changes to benefits, such as the universal credit and a benefit cap, "will be seen in the 2020s as being as important to this country as the trade union reforms and privatisations were of the 1980s.
    Yes because both those things really worked out well didn't they.

    We're doomed, we're doomed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    I'm begining to question why should the majority of us work hard, let alone harder, just to make the richest 0.01 percent richer, whilst we all struggle to survive on the scraps.

    Hague has absolutely no right whatsoever to tell anyone to work harder - the guy hasn't done a proper days work in his life and just like the majority of the government, has had a privilleged life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Is will referring to his own boss, DC?
    Stop it Don't mention the text.This HYS is about business and not about Cameron texting Brooks that he loves her or lots of laughs. We don't want to bring up how out of touch or embarassing the Prime Minister of our great nation is.Never mind Willy, least you tried to avert attention with this bland non story LOL oops sorry

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Collapsing ,economy,destroyed NHS,hundreds of thousands of job losses,tax cuts for the rich and tax rises for the poor,cuts for the sick,old and out of work,rising poverty, despair and disillusionment and it's still raining!
    Don't you think you and the rest of the Omni-shambles of a government have worked hard enough already?

    For God's sake put your feet up and have the rest of your life off!

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    They seem to sit & think what to say next that might catch the media spotlight & a headline.
    Perhaps better leaving business to business & concentrate on doing much that is still needed to create the right climate for recovery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    How is it possible to trade more with countries that have high growth, when they are looking at manufacturing their own to sustain this growth?

    The only trade we have is buying from another foreign supplier who will undercut our current foreign supplier, and management of our industry set up in their country to make it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Wow - talk about blame the victim! This government's ability to turn a crisis into a good old finger-pointing lecture is unrivalled in the modern world. They've had a go at the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. Now they're harrassing the very people they are relying on to dig them out of their own mess! How do these people sleep at night when they spend all day spouting garbage like this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Work harder? What to pay for your unreformed pension Mr Hague? Or to fund your lifestyle you continue to charge to the tax payer?

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    The country undergoing "rebalancing" private sector growing while public sector declining.
    This guy is nuts if he thinks we are dumb enough to fall for this Bull****!
    All that is happening is public services are being sold off to the private sector. This is plainly manipulation!
    Examples: ATOS, A4E, Group 4, Priory Group (75% of income is Public funding) & the infamous C(r)apita, the list goes on.


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