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Helping George Osborne stay in the Recovery Position
by Kerry Hallard, CEO, National Outsourcing Association
Thursday, August 07, 2014

As I was saying, to anyone who’d listen, outsourcing is the #1 key driver for economic recovery. We live in an age of constant surveying and reporting, and the latest set of stats from the Office of National Statistics seem to support my long-held belief that outsourcing is the answer to any economic woe, be it at micro or macro level. It’s widely known that GDP is back up to pre-recession levels, but not every industry is booming; British manufacturing for example, is 13% down on pre-2009 levels. Sadly, many other industries are in the same boat. 

Nowadays the ‘business services and finance’ and the ‘government and other services’ sectors - as the ONS statisticians shoehorn our industry into - are the heart and lungs of economic recovery, putting such an enormous contribution (business services and finance running at nearly 1% compound growth per quarter since 2009) that the economy, on paper, looks in better shape than it was before the financial crisis. 
Whilst all other studied sectors have their good quarters and bad quarters, the ONS states: “Output in the ‘business services and finance’ industries has grown more steadily and in May 2014 was 4.2% above the pre-downturn peak in February 2008. The pattern in the ‘government and other services’ industries, meanwhile, is of slow but largely steady growth, mostly driven by human health activities.”

Together with the ‘distribution and accommodation’ sector (where do they get these sectors from?), ‘biz services and finance’ and ‘gov and oth’ now make up a whopping two-thirds of the UK economy. I do feel, however, that if it wasn’t for such rudimentary lumping together of economic activity, there might be much better, clearer, broader recognition for how much the outsourcing industry contributes to the UK economy, particularly from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

Mr Osborne was in the news this week, offering “prizes for finance technology innovators in a new bid to become the world’s leading centre for the sector” because “key to the government’s long-term economic plan is cementing Britain’s position as the centre of global finance.” So, if the plan is to cement the UK as the global strategic hub for finance, it makes sense to position us as the global strategic hub for business services at the same time. For the same reasons: world class knowledge and experience and superior skills. As such, I’d really like to see equivalent governmental advocacy and marketing initiatives that support the UK outsourcing industry just as much as its ONS stats bedfellow, finance. 

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