Robert Peston’s brilliant economic vision for UK after downturn revealed

The global economy is on its knees as lockdown measures forced by the coronavirus pandemic take hold. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced a £330billion emergency bailout as the Government responds to thousands of companies going out of business and a jobs market in dire straits. Britain could well be facing a recession deeper than the 2008 financial crash and the Great Depression of the Thirties.

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As economists frantically grapple with how to best handle the crisis, an unearthed interview with ITV’s Robert Peston could shed light on how the UK economy might be structured in years to come.

Mr Peston launched Speakers for Schools in 2011 to pair influential leaders from business, politics and academia to speak at state schools free of charge.

His vision was a more diverse economic structure for future generations, with leaders in commerce, science, education and politics all coming from different backgrounds.

He told the Financial Times in 2015: “My naive bonkers hope is that a decade or two from now no one will think to ask questions about the gender and ethnic balance of business leaders because they will be a microcosm of what the world looks like.

Robert Peston

Robert Peston (Image: GETTY)

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak is leading the Government’s economic response to coronavirus (Image: GETTY)

“Women would lead as many businesses as men. And all cultures and ethnicities would be properly represented at board level.

“Progress in that direction is palpable but I remain sceptical, in a world of diminishing social mobility, that we will see leaders who come from all economic backgrounds.

“Unless we find new ways to increase the opportunities for the poor and lift their horizons, business leaders will become even more a self-perpetuating oligarchy of the rich and privileged.”

READ MORE: How NEW Bretton Woods could be key to restoring life after COVID-19

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was Eton-educated (Image: GETTY)

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Mr Peston, who worked as the BBC’s Economics Editor before becoming ITV’s Political Editor in 2015, then went on to outline how he would judge his charity’s achievements in the future.

He continued: “Success for me is when a girl or boy from ‘Gasworks Comp’ has the same ability to bulls*** their way into a place at a top university or a great job as the Old Etonian.

“We are increasingly seeing talks lead to valuable and enriching work-experience and internships. We have a plan to build on this in a systematic way.

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Robert Peston is ITV's Political Editor

Robert Peston is ITV’s Political Editor (Image: GETTY)


“Measuring and tracking our success is important long-term work-in-progress.

“The most moving moment was seeing the excitement generated when Bill Gates visited a particularly challenged school in Deptford.

“The governors wept with joy that Gates was telling the students, many of whom were from workless and broken homes, that they mattered and that they should not set limits on their ambitions.”