News

Friday 3 October 2008

National Economic Council

The Prime Minister has today announced that he will establish a National Economic Council to provide a new approach to coordinating economic policies across Government.

Britain is facing a period of immense economic challenges, which are global in origin and affect the work of many Government departments.

Financial instability as a result of conditions in global financial markets, high and volatile global oil prices impacting on household fuel bills, and high global food prices have changed the economic landscape.

The National Economic Council will work to help people and businesses to deal with the current economic uncertainties. It will coordinate efforts to help families deal with higher food and energy prices as we work with our International partners in managing the world’s scarce natural resources, and provide the forum on how to equip the country for the future by making the right investments in education, skills, science and infrastructure.

The Council will meet frequently to assess:

• the implications of the ongoing challenges in the financial markets for the wider economy globally and nationally;
• the latest developments in global commodity markets and their impact on the UK economy;
• our objective to promote sustainable and secure energy supplies;
• the impact of global economic developments on the skills and employment that the UK needs;
• the remaining barriers to entrepreneurship, innovation, and the opportunities for small business growth;
• our housing and planning needs; and
• the impact across every part of the UK.

The job of the National Economic Council will be to frame and coordinate the appropriate departmental and cross-Governmental policy responses.

The Council will be a full Cabinet Committee, replacing the current Economic Development Committee. It will take advice from externalexperts from across different sectors of the economy. It will also have a strong regional input and links to a new Regional Economic Council, which will ensure that the issues and concerns of each region are heard and acted upon across Government. Budgets and Pre-Budget Reports will continue to be handled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the usualway. Financial stability issues are addressed through the existing standing tripartite arrangements.

Notes to Editors:

Membership

• The Prime Minister (Chair)
• The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Deputy Chair)
• The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
• The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
• The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
• The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
• The Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change
• The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
• The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
• The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
• The Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
• The Chief Secretary to the Treasury
• The Minister for Housing
• The Minister for Science
• The Minister for the City
• The Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business
• The Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting

The Cabinet Secretary and the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury will act as joint secretaries to the Council.

Supporting Structures

Supporting the work of the National Economic Council will be:

(a) A Senior Officials’ Working Group, to be chaired by jointly the Cabinet Secretary and the Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury. Other membership will include the permanent secretaries of all departments whose Ministers serve on the National Economic Council.

The remit of this group will be to assess and evaluate the challenges facing
the UK economy in the light of global developments and to recommend short, medium and long-term policy responses to the Economic Council.

(b) A National Economic Council Secretariat. Senior staff from the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury will act jointly as the Secretariat to the NEC and the Senior Officials Working Group to provide the analysis and papers for their consideration.

(c) A Regional Economic Council will be established to ensure that the issues and concerns of each region are heard and acted upon across Government. The Regional Economic Council will bring together Regional Ministers with RDA chairs and representatives of business and trade unions to meet quarterly chaired by the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. A Regional Council made up of the Regional Ministers and meet weekly chaired by Liam Byrne, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

d) Business Ambassadors
A network of Business Ambassadors will be established to support the Government overseas. Business and University leaders will work with the Government to promote the UK’s excellence internationally and highlight trade and investment opportunities. They will focus on helping to promote exports and inward investment opportunities and helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have sometimes face greater barriers to accessing global markets than larger businesses.

The Business Ambassadors are:

• Marcus Agius - Chairman, Barclays
• Sir Victor Blank - Chairman, Lloyds TSB
• Sir John Bond - Chairman, Vodafone
• Lord John Browne - President, Royal Academy of Engineering and MD of Riverstone Holdings
• Sir Terence Conran - Chairman, Conran Holdings
• Mervyn Davies CBE - Chairman, Standard Chartered
• Dr. Chris Gibson-Smith - Chairman, London Stock Exchange and British Land
• Professor Malcolm Grant CBE - Provost and President, UCL
• Sir Philip Hampton - Chairman, J Sainsbury
• Dr John Hood -Vice Chancellor, Oxford University
• Lord Digby Jones
• Anna Mann - MWM Consulting
• Dick Olver- Chairman, BAe Systems
• Professor Alison Richard -Vice Chancellor, Cambridge University
• Lord Richard Rogers - Richard Rogers Partnership
• Paul Skinner - Chairman, Rio Tinto
• Sir Kevin Smith, CBE - CEO, GKN

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