Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Clegg to defend economic policies

Deputy PM Nick Clegg will outline the Government's ambition to 'rebalance' the UK economy

The coalition Government is determined not only to pay off Britain's deficit but to create "a new model of sustainable economic growth", Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to insist

Mr Clegg will say that the Government inherited from Labour not only crippling debt but also a "failed economic model" fuelled by debt and overly reliant on financial services.

He will outline the Government's ambition to "rebalance" the UK economy, diversifying into sectors other than finance; spreading economic activity across the whole country; and encouraging "green" sustainable growth.

In a speech in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Mr Clegg will acknowledge that last week's GDP figures, showing the economy shrank by 0.5% in the last three months of 2010, were "disappointing" and make clear his belief that Britain faces "a long, hard road back to prosperity" following the recession.

But he will insist that there are "strongly positive signs" from recent indicators on manufacturing, construction and services, adding: "Things are difficult, but it is not all doom and gloom."

Mr Clegg will defend the Government against accusations from Labour and business that it has not done enough to foster economic growth, particularly by failing to publish a Growth White Paper in the autumn.

He will say he sees no need to apologise for taking time to consult with business and experts rather than rushing to churn out initiatives designed to create the appearance of stimulating the economy.

The Government's growth review will produce a "grounded, evidence-based and properly thought-through" approach in time for Chancellor George Osborne's March 23 Budget - already being billed as a "budget for growth" - he will say.

And he will insist that the coalition's ambitions are not limited to paying down the deficit inherited from Labour in time for the next general election in 2015.

While eliminating the deficit is a vital part of the Government's economic plan, it is "a means, not an end in itself", Mr Clegg will say, adding: "We are determined to foster a new model of economic growth, and a new economy - one built on enterprise and investment, not unsustainable debt. We seek nothing less than a new model of sustainable growth."

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