My hon. Friend tempts me to suggest a less than honourable motive for our tabling the new clause. I appreciate that there may be some scepticism about the Government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure and growth and that last week’s announcement was simply about planning for more cuts to public services rather than a genuine attempt to try to look for opportunities for growth. It must be said, however, that the spending review, which plans more cuts in 2015 and was accompanied by an infrastructure announcement on Thursday that was mostly reheated—I think my hon. Friend Chris Leslie described it as a “microwave statement” as its announcements had been reheated so many times—failed to impress anybody.
Liberal Democrat Members in particular should be concerned by statements from the Deputy Prime Minister. He has commented that
“the gap between intention, announcement and delivery is quite significant”.
He puts that rather mildly, and I would hope that by supporting our new clause the Government could take stock of the impact mot just of the 2013 spending round they announced last week but of the delay in delivering any of the projects that have already been announced, as well as the delay pursuant to the announcements that have been made for 2015. This is an important opportunity for the Government to take stock and consider why their economic plan has so catastrophically failed. That would mean that rather than planning for failure in 2015, they could take the steps necessary now to bring forward infrastructure investment and put into play the infrastructure investment that has already been announced so that we can start to create jobs and opportunities for communities up and down the country that are suffering from stagnation in the economy.