David Cameron and George Osborne have ordered ministers to do more to kickstart growth amid a Cabinet “blame game” about Britain’s flatlining economy.
As the Cabinet discussed the decision of credit rating agency Moody’s to downgrade the UK’s coveted AAA status, the Chancellor called for swifter progress on extending broadband in rural areas. He also joined the Prime Minister in demanding that business-friendly enterprise zones succeed in creating the 100,000 new jobs promised by the Government.
This prompted a dispute as Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, defended his department’s work on the zones by demanding more support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), which falls under the command of Business Secretary Vince Cable. But Mr Cable said that UKTI could not force companies to move to areas to against their wishes.
Ministerial allies of Mr Osborne denied he had criticised Mr Pickles – along with Maria Miller, who is responsible for broadband as Culture Secretary – insisting he was merely arguing the Government should “double up” on its existing successes in pulling out all the stops to achieve economic growth.
The Cabinet meeting had a “real sense of urgency” about boosting the economy, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.