"Spend, spend, spend"
27 June 2020
Exactly a week ago I posted a blog item summarising a story in The Times about a speech the prime minister is expected to make outlining the government’s plans to re-launch the economy.
It was called “Build, build, build” which is the slogan that will underpin the speech and, indeed, the overall strategy.
And that still appears to be the plan. Indeed, several other papers picked up the theme in the days that followed. Last Monday, the Daily Mail said that the government will allow planning permission extensions to give more time to start construction projects that already had approval but were delayed, and that longer or staggered hours will be allowed on work sites to help with social distancing and travel arrangements.
Last Thursday, the Daily Express reported that major infrastructure projects would be accelerated, including a building programme for 300,000 new homes each year and 40 additional hospitals by the end of the decade.
Today’s Times reports (paywall) that Boris Johnson will deliver his ‘build, build, build’ speech this Tuesday, promising a decade of investment rather than a decade of austerity.
It also says that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will give a speech the following week to unveil the stimulus package, including initiatives for training and re-skilling people, plus various fiscal measures.
Interestingly, the paper quotes a government source saying that the Chancellor wants wealthier people to use their savings and ‘spend, spend, spend’ - echoing the prime minister’s new slogan.
Will the government maintain a similarly liberal attitude? It has already spent billions on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and business loan packages. And can we expect more public/private sector partnerships?
We will see. Meanwhile, a commitment to build and spend will be good news for construction and the hire industry. The Times even quotes one minister as saying that the scale of the investment will see the Conservative Party becoming “Blue Labour”.
These really are unprecedented times.
(Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels)