Belfast Telegraph

Ministers urged to join push for economic growth

By Sam Lister

Cabinet ministers in charge of departments that are failing to boost growth have been "challenged" about their poor performance by David Cameron.

Number 10 said the Prime Minister wanted to see "every department prioritising growth" but admitted that was not the "natural position" for many parts of Whitehall.

At a Cabinet meeting given over to growth implementation, Mr Cameron, along with Chancellor George Osborne, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, heaped pressure on ministers to do more to fuel the economic recovery.

Departments have also been urged to look again at areas where red tape can be cut back following the announcement earlier this month that the Government's "one in, one out" approach to regulation has become a "one in, two out" policy.

That includes looking at European regulations so the Government can take "concrete" proposals for reducing administrative burdens to Brussels.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "In certain areas departments are not doing as well as they should be. The purpose of this is to hold departments to account and make sure secretaries of state are holding departments to account.

"The purpose of this process is to keep up the pressure and there are some areas where things are progressing well, there are some areas which are quite novel and new and sometimes those things take a little bit longer to get off the ground." Downing Street said there was an "implied league table" of departments that had failed to reduce red tape but refused to be drawn on which departments were worst performers.

The spokesman added: "Departments are being asked again to look at where we can reduce the burden of regulation further, both domestic regulation but also EU regulation.

"There was an agreement at the October European Council that the commission would look at regulation in areas where we could reduce regulation. That included the existing stock of regulation, so one thing departments will be doing is coming forward with ideas that we can take to the commission on that.

"I would imagine it would certainly be coming back at spring council next year so we would want to be able to put forward some concrete proposals on that."