Retailers and the building trade have both welcomed a new report from Lord Heseltine on boosting economic growth.
The former Tory cabinet minister was commissioned to consider growth by the chancellor.
He concluded that the UK "does not have a strategy for growth and wealth creation" and made nearly 90 recommendations.
Lord Heseltine said power and resources should be diverted from Whitehall to big cities and the regions through the new Local Enterprise Partnerships.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: “Lord Heseltine is exactly right in identifying the enormous global competition for future growth and jobs, and the need for the management of the UK economy to rise to achieve the Government's stated aim to make the UK the best place in the world to do business.
“And his ambition to promote greater growth outside London is good. Government should be addressing the very real challenges retailers see on high streets and in shopping centres up and down the country. You only need to look at the one in five shops that are closed in some areas to understand how some towns and cities are struggling.
“But moving spending powers from Whitehall to other tiers of government isn't the answer. We've seen regional policies come and go. What we really need is more certainty and stability, with the Government giving a clear lead in investing in critical infrastructure, and in removing fiscal and regulatory burdens which inhibit investment. Freezing Business Rates next year would be a good start.”
The National Federation of Builders said Lord Heseltine's recommendations would be "a shot in the arm" for the economy.
NFB chief executive Julia Evans said:
“We particularly welcome proposals to increase the resources available to local enterprise partnerships and to make it easier for employers to offer work experience and work placements.
“For trade federations this report offers both challenge and opportunity. It lends impetus to the drive to improve standards, increase influence and enable the clear voice of industry to be heard. It rightly suggests building on the excellent work already being done the Trade Association Forum, which is fully supported by the NFB.
“The NFB remains cautious about the proposal that there should be a lead body for each sector. The history of independent UK trade bodies is different from the more formalised model of trade associations seen in Europe. Within an industry as diverse as construction there is no single opinion and the variety of trade bodies we see today have arisen organically as a result of the substantial diversity within the industry.
“The industry should always strive to present as coherent and streamlined a voice as possible, and there have significant progress in this direction; the NFB has played a leading part in developing the role of the Construction Alliance, which has allowed for more strategic representation while preserving a diversity of voices. Further efforts can be made in this direction, but we should be wary of a pruning of viewpoints which might deprive government of the rich perspective it needs to be fully informed and avoid skewing its policy towards certain sectors of the industry.”
The Chartered Management Institute said it hopes that ministers will accept Lord Heseltine’s recommendations.
Patrick Woodman, CMI Policy Manager, said:
“As he points out, businesses with strong management and leadership are much better equipped to overcome the hurdles that face growing companies. Yet too many UK companies struggle because they have poor management practices in place. Bad management is harming UK business and must be urgently addressed.That’s hardly a surprise when only one in five managers is qualified in their profession.
“Lord Heseltine is absolutely right that part of the solution must be better opportunities to develop management and leadership skills, starting at school. Through Campus CMI, our programme for 14-21 year olds, we’ve already awarded some 5,000 qualifications through 150 schools and colleges across the country. The scheme is continuing to expand. By helping young people to understand business and the career opportunities that are open to them, we can make a real difference to their prospects and to the UK’s future prosperity.