George Osborne has admitted that he wished he had taken more “big decisions” in the Coalition’s first year.
Interviewed on Sky News by a group of schoolchildren, the Chancellor said his “biggest regret” was that he missed the chance to do “even more” while the Government was new.
He told the First News weekly newspaper for young people: “I look back and think there’s even more we could have done to fix some of the economic problems. And I want to go on, therefore, taking decisions that will help create jobs for you and your families, and to make sure the country’s more prosperous.
"If anything, it’s like I wish we’d done even more. But that’s alright, we are doing more now.”
Mr Osborne’s comments were seen at Westminster as an admission that he waited too long before boosting the housing market and speeding up building projects to get the economy moving.
But allies insisted that he was talking about long-term reforms, such as streamlining the planning system and a Northern Hub to boost regional economies.
“His first priority had to be clearing up the mess he inherited. We had two huge problems: a debt crisis and a banking crisis. They had to be addressed first,” said one aide.