You can’t make this stuff up!
– George Osborne: Britain is on the path to prosperity (Telegraph, Nov 12, 2013):
The Government has “an economic plan that has delivered stability”, George Osborne said, but cautioned that risks remain, notably from the eurozone.
George Osborne has said Britain is “on the path to prosperity” as he painted an optimistic view of the economy at the Telegraph Festival of Business.
The Chancellor hailed the importance of entrepreneurs and the private sector on Tuesday, saying the rebound in the economy is down to their hard work.
“I do not have a lever in the Treasury that I pull which creates businesses and jobs. It is the entrepreneurs here who do that,” he told the gathering of 400 bosses from small and medium-sized companies. “The private sector is the engine of prosperity in the UK.”
The Government has “an economic plan that has delivered stability”, Mr Osborne added, but cautioned that risks remain, notably from the eurozone.
“The collapse of the euro being the obvious [risk]. It has receded but the eurozone is still weak. We still have risks such as the ongoing repair of the banking system, we still see political issues around debt and deficit in US, and the eurozone still looks weak.”
The Chancellor is looking to make it easier for British companies to hire workers, and admitted that the Government “made enemies” when it changed law to deter “vexatious” tribunal claims from former staff.
Mr Osborne also turned his attention to three contentious issues affecting Britons today – airport capacity, HS2 and energy companies.
He was resolute that the South East must have another runway, urging people to imagine what the country would have been like if “the Victorians had stopped building ports”.
“Britain needs more airport capacity. We’re a trading nation,” he added.
On HS2 the Chancellor argued that the M25 was “bitterly contested” when it was built; as was the Channel Tunnel and the M62 extension.
“The nation of Isambard kingdom Brunel should not blanch at building 400 miles of railway. I see many countries paralysed by big decisions and I don’t want that to be mine.”
Mr Osborne closed his session at the Telegraph Festival of Business by tackling the issue of green levies and their alleged effects on the energy costs that are passed on to customers.
“There’s a spotlight on the levies. We can make the energy companies compete and we need to consider levies and see if they are effective.”