Writing in the Guardian, Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott is typically forthright in his assessment of the chancellor’s performance and the changes he would like to see:
What we need instead is a far bolder plan for economic recovery. I call it plan C for construction and capital investment rather than plan B but we can all agree at least, on this side of the debate, that Osborne isn’t working. We must be mad to treat our record low long-term interest rates as some sort of virility symbol, instead of an unrepeatable opportunity to finance desperately needed investment.
The pension funds and insurance companies I act for, and know well, are desperate to find alternative secure long-term investments to meet their liabilities when returns are so paltry. Housing is the key, where building 100,000 more houses a year would create half a million more jobs. The infrastructure initiative George Osborne announced for pension funds a year ago has commitments of only £700m – that’s the pace of a lame snail. The Treasury must be much more imaginative in helping facilitate new investment vehicles – which could easily raise £100bn or more of secure long-term funds – and ease the revenue squeeze on councils and housing associations for a massive social house building programme. Scrapping building regulations and planning permission isn’t the answer – it’s all about money.
You can read the full piece here.
* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.