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Boost infrastructure spend, says economic watchdog IMF

Influential global economic watchdog the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week urged Chancellor George Osborne to boost infrastructure investment to help boost the nation’s still flagging economy.

The IMF’s annual health check of the UK economy says “the United Kingdom could boost growth by bringing forward measures already included in its fiscal plan, such as spending on infrastructure”.

It added that, given the UK’s current high unemployment levels and low interest rates, the government should take the opportunity to bring forward “high value” spending that would have “big long-term payoffs”.

Employers body the CBI’s director general John Cridland welcomed the IMF’s advice, and said that many felt the government’s infrastructure investment programme was “on pause”.

“The pace of progress towards building the networks we desperately need is too slow,” Cridland told last week’s Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) centenary conference. “After two years of encouraging policy announcements, we’re simply not seeing the expected flow of projects materialise.”

Chief secretary to the Treasure Danny Alexander told the conference: “We are making progress but there is also a great deal more to be done.

“Given the economic circumstances and our commitment to reducing the national debt, securing the funding has not been easy.”

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