Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
27 June 2013

Osborne forced to admit he misled MPs over infrastructure spending

"It was a re-announcement," the Chancellor concedes after the Spending Review figures show capital investment is still being cut.

By George Eaton

In his statement on the Spending Review, George Osborne sought to give the impression that he was increasing infrastructure spending as the economy moved from “rescue to recovery”. He told the Commons: 

Successive governments of all colours have put short term pressures over the long term needs and refused to commit to capital spending plans that match the horizons of a modern economy.

Today we change that.

We commit now to £50 billion pounds of capital investment in 2015.

From roads to railways, bridges to broadband, science to schools.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

The reference to “now” made it appear as if the Chancellor had just produced a pot of new money. But there was none. Page 11 of the Spending Review document showed that capital investment would be £50.4bn in 2015-16, the same level as announced in this year’s Budget, and a 1.7 per cent cut in real-terms compared to 2014-15. 

On the Today programme this morning, Evan Davis forced the Chancellor to strip away the smoke and mirrors. “It was a re-announcement,” he conceded. But his myth-making didn’t end there. Osborne went on to claim that under the coalition, capital spending had been “higher than the plans we inherited from the Labour Party”. In reality, as the table below shows, the government has invested £5bn less than Alistair Darling planned since 2010.

It’s worth adding that even if the coalition had announced new money yesterday, it wouldn’t take effect until 2015-16, two years too late. The economy certainly needs stimulus, but all Osborne offered yesterday was spin. 

Content from our partners
<strong>What you need to know about private markets </strong>
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action