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 188.

    Now we can add william vague to the list of tories who are rapidly losing the plot.


  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    178 Paul, you typify the mentality of those that expect somebody else to provide the answers and do it for them. And as for "born to rule"....what's to stop YOU going into politics and putting things right? YOU. Most of our leaders came from humble backgrounds and worked hard to make a life for themselves. Your anachronistic prejudice against success holds you back....

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    @174 "There are 40,000 Bankers in the City of London alone who earn more than the PM or indeed any public sector worker"

    True, but it's the taxes those "bankers" pay that provides the salaries for those public sector workers.

    No private sector = no taxes = no public services

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    Moan :
    1. Complaint or lamentation
    2. Anything you don't agree with.

    Calling someone a moaner is not an argument winning term of abuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    What annoys me about Hague's attitude is that he remains glued to the dogma that the private sector can out perform the public sector: this has demonstrated itself false.

    The result is an ideologically wielded axe that lays waste to the public sector, frequently fails to replace those jobs, or results in service three times as expensive and is worse than the original.

    I find it destructive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Many "bosses" are working their socks off.

    They are not the bosses of "privatised utility monopolies" or banks who pay themselves obscene salaries and bonuses.

    If you want to increase exports then make it easier for these creators of wealth to create wealth (not only personal wealth) and they will.

    They don't need yet another "get on yer bike" message from your party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    What a fatuous and insulting statement from someone who has never had a real job in their life. People like Hague are completely cut off from the real world, hence statements like work harder to revive the economy. No Mr. Hague, you and the rest of your administration plunged the country back into recession, you lot work harder to pull it back out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Tell your banker friends to start lending to small businesses Mr Hauge then perhaps those bosses can expand and create jobs and wealth for this country, otherwise keep quiet and try working harder to sort this mess out that you`re struggling to cope with and stop blaming others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    He's right. We have great strengths in the UK like our cultural and technology sectors. Business people like me need to get out and take them to the growth countries where there is a market for them. Germany does it, Israel does it, Sweden does it - and so must we.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Those that can do, those that can't become politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    163Oldskool-90 But you do realise the British Empire has gone and so we can't dominate trade/trade routes/supplies so we actually have to come up with new products and not just steal stuff from other countries! So go on tell me what new stuff do we make and explain why the rest of the world looks at England with our out of touch politicians that are "born to rule " an empire that doesn't exist?

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Despite my long held prejudice against the conservatives (still blaming them for the last recession!). I did have an unexpected respect for Hague. Since this comment, there is no longer anyone in the coalition that seems to be able to talk sense when it comes to the economy.

    Just resigned myself to a deep depression if this is their best policy for growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    As I've already mentioned, it was Thatchers Tory government (and Reagan's administration) that created this mess in the first place but still little imps like Hague play the game of pass the parcel who refuse to address the real problem, that being bringing back strict regulation on the financial sector.

    I'm my own boss (who's struggling) and I find Hague's words incredibly insulting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Examples of hard work by politicians:
    Theft from the public!
    Massive number of politicians compared to size of country.
    Massive number of 'civil/public servants', who serve those same "leaders."
    Not satisfied, they "steal" ideas from the public because they have none of their own. Who has staff trawling the net, the media & communications @ public expense because they lack real intelligence?

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Just been reading an article saying top civil servents should be payed more to help make them work harder. 172 of them earn more than the PM.------

    There are 40,000 Bankers in the City of London alone who earn more than the PM or indeed any public sector worker..

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    I do feel that we have become a fairly lazy, moany people who blame everybody else but ourselves for our plight. True, bankers and politicians haven't helped BUT we do need to get off our fat backsides and get out there and hustle. I am a businessman and I see it all the time - the 'can't be a****d brigade'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    William and David have announced a UK constitutional reform.

    Write it down in your constitution:

    "All citizens are equal in their rights".

    "There is an open access to ALL public positions, including the head of state."

    Tear down the anachronistic Royal privileges of overwhelming luxury on the taxpayer´s expense!

    Open up the "access denied" of the head of state for everyone!

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Ah, yet another out of touch politician wheeled out to spout meaningless twaddle while the economy goes down the pan and takes the whole country with it. The lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Just been reading an article saying top civil servents should be payed more to help make them work harder. 172 of them earn more than the PM. Lots of them of course work for there own overseas company, so they do not pay any TAX. Just shows you how these pilicks at the top the tree are so out of touch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    146. Archimedes Screwed 13 MINUTES AGO #127.krokodil #116. ArchimedesScrewed 1 MINUTE AGO #100.krokodil So you are a Labour spokesperson. Mandy is that you? ====== Eerr, nope.

    Pity. I don't blame the Unions either. They are just inherently selfish and threaten the public now and again to extort money.

    The countries problems run deep. From bottom to top we find wasters.


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