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Published on September 15th, 2011 | by Mark Wright
Image © [caption id="attachment_3640" align="alignright" width="190" caption="It's hard to believe someone produced this a year and a half ago with a straight face ©Darrell K Morris"][/caption] The Deputy PM Nick Clegg has called for a ‘gear shift’ to ensure state spending and infrastructure play their part in boosting Britain’s ailing economy. With unemployment rising above 2.5m, female unemployment at its highest level in 23 years and almost a million young people out of work, Clegg is not wrong that the economic situation has ‘changed dramatically’ for the worse in the past six months. But this is no ‘U-turn’ – capital spending will still be cut by 29 per cent – or the ‘plan B’ the government’s critics have called for. There is no new money being announced nor any spending being brought forward from later financial years, but the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will be taking charge of already announced capital programmes. Alexander will 'hand pick' 40 of the biggest infrastructure projects 'important to growth' that will be given 'special priority status'. Andrew Porter for the Telegraph has said that the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement is an echo of Barack Obama’s plan to boost growth in the US through infrastructure spending. But Obama is calling for $140 billion for infrastructure spending. Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle has the correct assessment of Clegg's speech: 'His speech merely says Ministers will turn up for work and make sure those projects which haven’t been cut are delivered on time.'

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Nick Clegg announces ‘gear shift’ in state spending on infrastructure

It's hard to believe someone produced this a year and a half ago with a straight face ©Darrell K Morris

The Deputy PM Nick Clegg has called for a ‘gear shift’ to ensure state spending and infrastructure play their part in boosting Britain’s ailing economy. With unemployment rising above 2.5m, female unemployment at its highest level in 23 years and almost a million young people out of work, Clegg is not wrong that the economic situation has ‘changed dramatically’ for the worse in the past six months.

But this is no ‘U-turn’ – capital spending will still be cut by 29 per cent – or the ‘plan B’ the government’s critics have called for. There is no new money being announced nor any spending being brought forward from later financial years, but the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will be taking charge of already announced capital programmes. Alexander will ‘hand pick’ 40 of the biggest infrastructure projects ‘important to growth’ that will be given ‘special priority status’.

Andrew Porter for the Telegraph has said that the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement is an echo of Barack Obama’s plan to boost growth in the US through infrastructure spending. But Obama is calling for $140 billion for infrastructure spending. Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle has the correct assessment of Clegg’s speech: ‘His speech merely says Ministers will turn up for work and make sure those projects which haven’t been cut are delivered on time.’

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