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Infrastructure

Part of Opposition Day — [17th( )Allotted Day] — Horsemeat – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 12th February 2013.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 4:16 pm, 12th February 2013

PFI in my constituency built three new secondary schools and helped to rebuild primary schools, as well as building Sure Start centres. I would not have wanted any of those projects not to go ahead, so I do not share the hon. Gentleman’s criticism.

It is not just independent outsiders attempting to urge the Chancellor to change course and take action or saying that change is needed. Even the Deputy Prime Minister, in what he described as a “self-critical” mood, has stated:

“I think we’ve…realised that you actually need, in order to foster a recovery, to try and mobilise as much public and private capital into infrastructure as possible.”

He did not quite get round to saying sorry for a second time, but at least he has finally stumbled upon the problem. We said that cutting infrastructure spending too far and too fast would stifle the recovery, but the Deputy Prime Minister’s brief lapse of regret came two and a half years too late. That moment of self-realisation will not help the construction worker who has already lost his job, the children waiting for their new school or the new business waiting for improved roads. We do not need mea culpas; we need the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister to change course.