Opinion: If you build it, growth will come

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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It’s a sure sign the economy is in serious trouble when Ed Balls starts to sound plausible.

But the shadow chancellor is making the right noises when he calls for more housebuilding and infrastructure investment to stimulate the stagnant economy.

Balls wants to see construction lead the recovery.

And the feeling is growing that his views are shared in the Government who are looking at extra construction cash but have to disguise it in various ways.

George Osborne has pinned his reputation on deficit cutting so don’t expect a sudden splurge of public spending.

But money can be released in all manner of face-saving ways which can get Britain building again without spooking the credit-rating agencies.

The easiest trick is shifting current spending to capital spending to free up investment cash.

Osborne has talked a good fight on cutting public sector waste but anyone who deals with government departments on a regular basis knows the places are still riddled with inefficiencies.

Private investors like pension funds are also crying out for investment opportunities as the world loses faith in the ability of bankers to make us all rich.

Private cash needs to start flowing into infrastructure schemes again while a collective revamp of housing associations could see a new bond market created to plough billions of pounds into building much needed new homes.

Funding construction projects has the advantage of creating real jobs for people who are building something which will ultimately benefit the whole country.

The City has had its turn and left the whole country wondering who actually benefited.

An elite few became rich beyond the dreams of avarice while the rest of us have been left to foot the bill for their subsequent greedy blunders.

The economy has stalled and we are desperate for an upswing while we are suffering a housing crisis and our infrastructure is outdated.

Surely it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together?

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