Published: 30th Nov 2011

This was the U-turn that wasn’t: the time the Chancellor of the Exchequer became a quasi-Keynesian, pumping money into roads, rail and broadband to get Britain’s economy moving in a Brownesque stimulus package. But it was also the time when nothing really changed – when George Osborne, having ditched much of the previous government’s help for young unemployed people, housebuilding and support for infrastructure, reinvented these policies at bargain-basement rates with the Youth Contract, national housing strategy and National Infrastructure Plan. It was a time of missed opportunities. The chance to invest at scale in technologies and people-centred services that could set our economy up for the future was foregone in favour of more contracts for big construction firms, more support for carbon-intensive industries, more deals for giant Work Programme providers and more handshakes with the captains of industry. The prize, we’re told, is economic growth. And growth will certainly … (To read the full article, subscribe below)