London Mayor criticises government efforts to rein in banking industry

 

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The unemployed are losing the confidence, energy and enthusiasm to find work, Boris Johnson has warned, piling further pressure on George Osborne to do more to promote growth.

In a subtle attack on the Chancellor, the Mayor of London said yesterday he would like to see the Government putting additional resources towards stimulating demand in the economy. He also criticised ministers for targeting the banking industry with excessive regulation, which he said would be counter-productive.

"What I certainly don't think you should try to do is address people's general economic malaise and anxiety by over-regulating one sector, and causing gloom and despondency in financial services, when actually what you want to see is banks having the confidence and the courage, once again, to lend to businesses," he said.

Mr Johnson's remarks came as the body representing around 100,000 UK firms accused ministers of indecision and short-termism, choking off economic recovery. John Longworth, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the Government had made a series of economic-policy announcements that lacked substance while using "political calculation" as the driver of policymaking.

"Politicians seem to believe that businesses must be willing and ready to 'strain every sinew', without doing the same themselves," he wrote in The Observer. "Businesses are tired of indecision and equivocation. They are tired of political short-termism, electoral calculation, and the privileging of presentation over substance."

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Johnson called on Mr Osborne to back the idea for a new Thames Estuary airport and for more effort to be put into the apprenticeship programme.

"I would like to see a very aggressive campaign for more investment in infrastructure," he said.

Mr Johnson also defended the financial-services industry against arguments for greater regulation.

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