PracticeConsultingBusinesses and politicians should prepare for disaster

Businesses and politicians should prepare for disaster

A jittery stock market, the foot and mouth crisis and a transport system that can appear close to breakdown - it's hard to believe a government presiding over these sort of problems can be enjoying a 26 point lead in the polls.

But in truth there is no contradiction. These events only emphasise how little control modern governments have over many of the real issues that most directly affect business.

Two contrasting reports made for interesting reading this week. The first, from the ICAEW, is a manifesto urging the next government to tackle the business problems of a cumbersome regulatory bureaucracy, a complicated tax system and the uneven spread of economic prosperity. In fairness Five Steps to Greater Prosperity goes beyond the ordinary. It also urges more action on fraud and human capital.

Nevertheless, given the problems facing much of the UK today, the urging of government to solve problems for business seems a little out of step.

The increasing prevalence of events as diverse as disease and dives in share values continues to demonstrate that ministerial action is far from the panacea that it once seemed.

That’s why a forthcoming report from the Institute of Internal Auditors might make for more interesting reading. Due in the next few weeks, the report will urge companies not to neglect spending on emergency planning at a time when it is most needed. Disasters can strike at any time, but their effects can be more serious in times of economic slowdown.

Of course business cannot avoid the impact of government. But it is time more attention was paid to avoiding disasters over which businessmen – and politicians – hold little sway.

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