Nick Clegg vows economy projects boost

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today pledged to boost the flagging economy by pushing through major infrastructure projects like rail, road and broadband.







Warning that the global economic climate had worsened dramatically over the past six months, Mr Clegg said that the Government would not "sit on our hands" in the face of rising unemployment and sluggish growth.



Each of 40 hand-picked projects will be given priority status and "rigorously examined by ministers to make sure there are no delays, no blockages, and we get these projects delivered", he promised.



Far from being a "one-off shock", the banking crisis of 2008 set off a "chain reaction that continues to reverberate around the globe", said the Deputy Prime Minister in a speech at the London School of Economics.



And he added: "The reality we face is stark; there is now little margin for error. But that does not mean we are helpless. It does not mean we intend to sit on our hands while the economy falters."



Chancellor George Osborne led a Cabinet discussion on the latest economic situation yesterday at which ministers were reportedly given a direct warning that they must rein in spending.



The Financial Times said Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander issued a clear message to colleagues that overspending departments would not be bailed out by the reserve.



But Mr Clegg said that his Lib Dem colleague was also "shaking the Whitehall tree, making sure no one is stockpiling capital that can be put to good use today" to fund infrastructure.



"Since we came into government, ministers have been expected to make savings," said Mr Clegg. "Now they're under the same pressure to spend the money they've got."



He promised a "gear change" in efforts to get huge state-backed projects such as rail, road and broadband improvements funded and under way.



Labour's Treasury spokeswoman Angela Eagle was dismissive of Mr Clegg's comments.



"Nick Clegg says that the Government is not going to sit on its hands while the economy falters, but that is exactly what he and George Osborne are doing," said Ms Eagle.



"His speech today merely says Ministers will turn up for work and make sure those projects which haven't been cut are delivered on time. No investment is being brought forward to support jobs and the stalled economy now and the Government is simply pressing ahead with cuts and tax rises that go too far and too fast."



Mr Clegg denied that he was signalling a rift within the Cabinet over whether to introduce a "Plan B" with priority given to growth over deficit reduction.



"This is not a lurch in any direction, still less a great revelation of some ideological debate going on about our economic policy," he said.



"Our strategy has always been firstly in creating a fiscal context in which Government could at least be masters of our own destiny."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee