Clegg under fire after calls for infrastucture spending

Tim Wallace
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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s proposals to boost the economy by prioritising infrastructure spending were rejected by several economists and business leaders yesterday.

Clegg’s plans for speeding up spending on projects like Crossrail and boosting the M25’s capacity “will not bring about growth,” warned Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). “What we need is a major programme of deregulation, making it easier for private business to flourish.”

The IEA is calling for the minimum wage to be suspended and a more radical liberalisation of planning laws.

Steve Radley from manufacturers’ organisation EEF added: “The most pressing areas to address are tax, finance, regulation and skills. A ‘one-in-one out’ system for new regulations would help, as would a renewed emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths qualifications.”

Tony Dolphin from the Institute for Public Policy Research criticised the government’s fiscal position: “By repeatedly saying ‘there is no plan B on spending’ the government has prevented itself even from simply bringing next year’s infrastructure spending forward.”