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Economic Growth

Volume 520: debated on Tuesday 21 December 2010

As the Chancellor said earlier, the Government have launched a growth review—a fundamental assessment of how each part of government can contribute to private sector success by addressing the barriers to growth that industry faces. That will report at the time of the Budget.

When a private business wants to grow, it invests, yet the Government are slashing not just current expenditure but investment. What are they planning to do to increase private sector investment? In particular, what are they doing to get banks to lend to small and medium-sized businesses?

The hon. Gentleman may not be aware of the previous Government’s plans for capital investment, but the plans that we set out in the spending review put slightly more into capital investment than the previous Government planned. In particular, we are expending more on capital investment in transport infrastructure—the sort of investment that is most valuable to many businesses—in the next four years than was spent in the past four years. He should give the Government some serious credit for that.

As all the indicators are beginning to show that the Government’s deficit programme encourages private sector investment and growth, would my right hon. Friend like to comment on the rumours in this morning’s financial pages following the recent summit with the President of the United States that the Americans are beginning to view us a model of how to promote growth by tackling deficits?

I am happy to restrict my comments to this country’s plans rather than remarking on those of other countries. However, our approach to reducing the deficit has been firm and clear. It has established confidence and is putting in place a firm platform—a precondition—for economic growth in future. It is therefore vital to stick to and deliver the plans that we set out in the spending review.