Posts Tagged ‘Growth’

A quantum of spin

10/01/2011, 11:39:34 AM

by Michael Dugher

You always know when a government is short of ideas. In the absence of serious policies to announce, any government will revert to “process”. I can almost picture the No 10 “grid meeting” from a few weeks ago: the strategic comms team will have been lambasting their hapless counterparts in the policy unit for having nothing positive to present to the public and the media. After a fraught meeting, the room came up with the idea of a “summit” with business figures to discuss “how we can promote growth”. Today’s Downing Street summit come hot on the heels of that other old chestnut of spin-over-substance: last week’s prime ministerial “regional tour” to talk about “how we can promote growth in the regions”. But behind the spin of today’s summit, the truth is that the Tory-led coalition has no plan for jobs and growth.

“You’ll get great pictures, boss” will have been the advice to the PM from the No 10 events team. So today, in time for the lunchtime bulletins, expect pictures of business leaders arriving at Downing Street, followed by shots of them gathered round the cabinet table, sucking the Fox’s Glacier Mints, leaning forward in their shirtsleeves whilst David Cameron, George Osborne and a token Lib Dem “get down to business”. There may even be the odd business leader, probably not a current Tory donor, who will be wheeled out to do a round of interviews at the Millbank studios to talk up the success of the summit, the poor fellow flattered to be asked/used, though no doubt keeping one eye on next year’s honours list. (more…)

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Today’s growth figures vindicate the action Labour took, argues Alistair Darling

23/07/2010, 02:30:44 PM

Today figures show the results of the Labour Government’s balanced approach to supporting the recovery. And they remind us of the threat posed by the coalition’s willingness to take risks. 

This is the fastest growth we have seen for over four years. It shows that confidence was returning. And you can see the success of maintaining support for important sectors like construction. This is the final nail in the coffin of the Coalition’s argument that things are worse than they believed before the election. Today’s figures show that growth was twice as fast as expected.

The Coalition’s economic policy is not inevitable – it’s the choice they’ve made. And they will have to accept responsibility for the risks they are taking with the economy.

As I have consistently argued, withdrawing help to the economy now puts growth in jeopardy and could be more costly in the long run if more people lose their jobs. It is increasingly clear that we’re seeing the return to politics of a serious ideological debate. This  government’s clear and overriding priority is to cut back the state. Otherwise they would not announce cuts with such relish (more…)

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Labour must show it could cut the deficit and drive growth and the jobs of the future, argues Pat McFadden

23/07/2010, 10:49:13 AM

The Tories have a clear plan for their austerity programme which is to discredit Labour’s economic record, blame the situation they inherited from Labour for all the cuts they will make and suggest that anyone who doesn’t support their programme has no worthwhile economic proposition at all. 

 It is a plan which should be challenged at each point.  But it would also be a mistake to suggest that anyone on the centre left who wanted to address the issue of the deficit was somehow endorsing the Tory plan.  That isn’t true and would appear to suggest that there was no worthwhile difference between the plans on which Labour and the Conservatives fought the election. 

Yet the difference between the two parties is being felt every day in issues from the abandoned school building programme to cancelled regeneration projects and support for key industrial projects such as the Sheffield Forgemasters plan to make Britain a key player in the worldwide civil nuclear supply chain.

Labour won power in 1997 partly because we had worked hard to develop economic competence, to move on from a reputation for having big hearts but soft heads when it came to the nation’s finances.  We didn’t lose that focus in government.  We presided over the biggest increase in GDP per head in the G7 between 1997 and 2009, even after taking into account the financial crisis.

Of course the global financial crisis and our response – designed to stop recession turning into depression – meant borrowing was raised but this was a choice, a judgement we made. 

Labour fought the election on a plan to reduce the deficit over a longer timescale, with a different balance between spending reductions and tax measures and with key priorities protected.  That plan would have required some tough decisions and there’s no getting away from that.  We had already announced some spending reductions in the PBR last year and had proposed for example changes to civil service redundancy terms.  But Labour’s approach would have been very different to the Tory plan now being rammed through, a plan characterised by deep cuts started before recovery is established, with no regard for the impact on the private sector or future industrial opportunities for the country.

Labour’s plan would have had, at its heart, an active role for Government in promoting growth and ensuring Britain tried to develop key capability in areas of future employment growth such as low carbon vehicles, the digital economy, green energy and other areas.

The Tory deficit plan pays no regard to these areas.  This week’s document issued on this had little to say.  In fact, in addition to cancelling the Forgemasters loan the Government seems to be giving up on plans for a Green Investment Bank.  And their plans for abolishing the RDAs and cutting support for the regions will make recovery and growth even harder to achieve.

Cutting the deficit in the way they are doing is faith based economics, with the Tories playing the role of high priests and the Lib Dems displaying the zeal of the recently converted.

The challenge for the Labour Party is to address the deficit in a way that also includes a drive for the growth and jobs of the future.  And that’s a far cry from what the Tories and Lib Dems are doing.

The Rt Hon Pat McFadden is MP for Wolverhampton South East  and Shadow Secretary of State for Business

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Don’t cut growth: Andy Westwood says that Labour got it right

08/06/2010, 04:43:31 PM

‘We’ve got to get the economy moving’ urged David Cameron ad nauseam during the election campaign. But beyond his condemnation of the ‘jobs tax’ and his desire to shrink the size and the role of the state, the detail was nowhere to be seen. He claimed then that what government spent or did was not the same thing as the economy – visibly incredulous as Gordon Brown warned about endangering the recovery by cutting expenditure too quickly.

A few weeks into the coalition government and the headlines are still about cuts, because in Cameron’s words ‘growth won’t be enough’. That may be because he has yet to give it any serious thought, or it may be because they just prefer to talk about the deficit. But there’s a third possibility: it may be because the Tories and Lib Dems don’t want to admit that they have retained Labour’s new industrial policy.

Key to this was the formation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘NINJA’ – the ‘New Industries, New Jobs’ white paper jointly written and conceived by Lord Mandelson and John Denham. Which document was published in Budget week exactly two years ago, providing a narrative for a more optimistic economic future amidst the fast developing recession in 2008.


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