Focusing on three areas of action, he reminded politicians of all shades that reducing the deficit and cementing the UK’s reputation as one of the best places to do business must remain top priorities for the next government.

Turning to education, he called for radical reforms to the system by scrapping GCSEs, and urged political leaders to place facts first in the debate on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

John asserted that 2014 had been a successful year for the UK economy, which has emerged stronger and more able to tackle the challenges ahead – there are now 1.2 million more jobs than this time last year and employment is set to grow in every region of the UK in 2015.

UK growth is expected to hit 2.5% in 2015. John stressed that, if politicians and businesspeople make the right choices, we can increase living standards, spread the benefit of growth for the country and move forwards with confidence this year.