UK economy can beat Germany - Clegg
The UK will overtake France and Germany to become Europe's biggest economy within 20 years under Liberal Democrat plans for growth, Nick Clegg will say today.
The Deputy Prime Minister will say that Britain can become the "powerhouse of Europe" under the proposals, which would involve protecting the science budget and doubling the amount of public money spent on innovation.
Business Secretary Vince Cable will highlight his commitment to the European Union and encouraging international students to come to the UK - both issues the Lib Dems have clashed with the Conservatives over in government.
Sharing a platform at an event in London's docklands, Mr Clegg and Mr Cable will set out an ambition to sustain economic growth of an average of more than 1% higher per year than Germany until 2035.
The plan will involve r ing-fencing the £4.6 billion science budget, with a commitment to increasing it in real terms once the deficit is eliminated.
The party's manifesto will also commit to d oubling innovation spending across the economy, increasing the Government contribution in real terms by 2020-21 from £454 million in 2014-15 to more than £1 billion.
Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg will say: "The Liberal Democrats have rescued the economy and led the recovery. Now is the time to be ambitious about our future.
"We believe that by building a strong, modern, open economy we can become the powerhouse of Europe. We can grow faster than both France and Germany, overtaking them as the largest economy in Europe in 20 years' time.
"That is hugely ambitious but absolutely possible. To do it we need two things: to secure the recovery; and to put in place an ambitious long-term plan that harnesses and encourages the skills and dynamism of British workers and British businesses."
Mr Cable will say: "In Government, the Liberal Democrats have enacted important reforms to move Britain away from a culture of short-termism to one where business and government thinks long-term beyond the political cycle.
"Our industrial strategy has laid the foundations to give business the confidence to invest over a number of years by planning for the provision of skills, finance and innovation.
"The Liberal Democrats are on the side of business in creating an economy that is open to international students and the global skills pool our country needs to grow. Britain has thrived by being part of the European Union and that is why the Liberal Democrats remain committed to ensuring we continue to play our part in the world's largest single market.
"We have started to reap the rewards, but we want to do more to move our economy from recovery to renewal across the whole of the UK over the coming decade."