Ministers plan £50bn growth boost
Ministers are drawing up plans for a £50 billion housing and road-building boom in an attempt to boost the flagging economy, it has been reported.
Chancellor George Osborne wants to encourage private companies to fund a "wartime" infrastructure building programme encompassing power stations, social housing, super-fast broadband and toll-roads, according to the Sunday Times.
The plans, being devised by the Treasury and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, are part of a growth strategy to be unveiled alongside the autumn statement on November 29.
It comes as the Bank of England is this week expected to slash its forecasts for growth amid fears of a double-dip recession.
The Government hopes that private investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, will stump up money to fund infrastructure projects, but are still discussing how to create an investment vehicle to handle the cash injection.
Tapping into private sector cash would allow the Government to fund growth without jeopardising its deficit reduction targets.
Business secretary Vince Cable told the newspaper:"What we have to do is create a framework of stable regulation so that private investors will have the confidence to invest in big projects and help get the British economy moving again."
The plans are likely to fuel speculation that the Government is quietly switching to a 'Plan B' as the eurozone debt crisis threatens to derail the global economic recovery.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said bringing forward long-term investment projects was part of Labour's five-point plan to stimulate jobs and growth.
"If it is the case the Government is now adopting one of those planks by bringing forward infrastructure investment then good. But it's got to be real," he told BBC1's Politics Show. "We've had this for a year, this idea that you can cut public jobs, cut public investment and the private sector will take over. They've not done it. There is no meat there. This is deeply irresponsible."