Asian Business Awards, Edgbaston, Friday 9 May 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Sajid Javid's speech to the Asian Business Awards.
Thank you, Sameena, thank you Kaplesh, and good evening everyone.
It’s always a pleasure to be a guest of the Asian Media & Marketing Group.
That’s not because your list of the UK’s most influential Asians ranked me ahead of Zayn Malik from One Direction!
Although it certainly helps…
It’s because AMG represents the best of British Asian business.
Building something from nothing through sheer hard work and determination.
Those values are shared by everyone here this evening.
This room is filled with successful businessmen and women.
You know what it takes to reach the top.
You know how many obstacles you have to overcome.
And you know the scale of the challenge that British businesses faced four years ago.
The deepest recession in almost a century.
The biggest budget deficit since the Second World War.
And, the world’s largest bank bailout.
When the Coalition came to power, we knew that Britain couldn’t have a sustainable recovery without a thriving private sector.
And that’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to support business leaders like you.
We’re cutting red tape and regulation, giving you the flexibility and freedom to run your companies the way you want to run them.
We’re cutting corporation tax, so you can invest more of your profits in continued success.
And just last month we introduced a new employer National Insurance Contribution allowance.
It means you will be able to employ up to four people on the National Minimum Wage without having to pay a single penny in NI contributions.
That move alone is lifting 450,000 small employers out of NICs altogether.
We’ve introduced a £1.2 billion package to put a two per cent cap on increases in your business rates.
The HS2 rail link will seamlessly connect companies in the great cities of the Midlands with their counterparts in London and the North.
And my own department, DCMS, is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in bringing superfast broadband to homes and businesses in every corner of the country.
It’s all part of our long-term economic plan.
And, although there is still a lot more to do, it’s a plan that’s starting to work.
The IMF and OECD say that our economiy is growing faster than any other developed nation.
Inflation is lower than at any time since 2009.
Business investment has grown for four consecutive quarters.
And in four years we’ve gone from record debt to record employment – more than 1.7 million private sector jobs have been created since 2010 – more people in work that at any time in our history.
But this success – your success – doesn’t mean we can all sit back and say “job done”.
It’s more important than ever that we stick with the plan that has got us this far.
We must keep bearing down on the deficit – creating a country that starts living within its means again.
And that’s not so much for our benefit as for our children.
Charan Dass Sohal is one of the guests here this evening; he founded the multimillion-pound Orbit International clothing company.
And, a few years ago, when Charan was asked why he’d dedicated so much of life to his job, his explanation was very simple: “The Asian philosophy is to work for the next generation.”
It’s a philosophy that most of us here tonight have benefitted from.
Big-name businessmen and women, pop stars, politicians, journalists…
Our heroes are our parents who did everything they could to seek a better life for their children.
For many of them in the 1960s and 70s, that meant moving across the globe to settle right here in Britain.
Taking unskilled jobs and working around the clock to give their sons and daughters a chance of success.
My dad’s family lost everything in the Partition of India, and when he arrived in Britain in 1961 he had just one pound to his name.
But he also had a powerful motivation, an ambition not for himself but for the next generation of Javids.
So my dad found a job up in Rochdale, first in a cotton mill and then as a bus driver.
And he worked every hour and he saved every penny so that he counld start his own business and his children could experience opportunities he had only dreamed of.
He became a retailer of ladies clothing – first through market stalls, and eventually in a high street shop. I remember as a child helping out in the ship – and I think it’s fair to say that I know more about ladies’ clothing than any other male MP!
When, last week, I took my seat at the Cabinet table for the first time, I knew that the path I took to get there was built on foundations my parents had laid.
Because working for the next generation is the Asian philosophy.
And it’s also this Government’s philosophy.
We’re making tough decisions today so our children will benefit tomorrow.
The easy thing to do would be to kick the can down the road.
Instead of cutting the deficit, we could just spend more, tax more, borrow more.
But if we do, we won’t be working for the next generation.
We’ll be passing a greater burden on to them.
That’s why we have a long-term economic plan, and that’s why it’s so important that we stick to it.
The biggest risk to the recovery would be abandoning that plan. Thanks to you – and businesses up and down the country – the economy is growing. We’re cutting taxes, we’re giving young people the skills they need to get on, we’re fixing the welfare system so that it pays to work.
And we’re creating a fairer and more equal society where drive and ambition matter, not the colour of your skin or the occupation of your parents.
It’s a strategy that benefits business now and will ensure growth for many years to come.
So tonight let’s celebrate the best of Asian business in the Midlands.
And tomorrow let’s get back to work, building a financially secure future not just for ourselves, but for our country and for our children.