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Government pledges to sell assets for capital spend

The Government will sell assets in order to raise money for public spending to help deal with the recession, chancellor Alistair Darling revealed in the James Callaghan Memorial lecture today.

Chancellor Alistair Darling pledged a series of free market initiatives to keep public money flowing, despite government borrowing forecast to reach a record £175bn by the end of the year.

He said he was still committed to: “Half the deficit over four years once the recession is over - and we will not shy away from these plans,” he said.

Darling said he wanted to build on savings already made in the public sector, “so that public investment and private endeavour can work hand-in-hand.”

He said the Government would do: “More with less” and prioritise: “areas [for investment] where we get the most bang for our buck.”

“Start with investment. We need to look at what non-essential public sector assets we can sell, so that we can free up capital for key projects.

“We will look at every corner of public sector spending, and allocate money to those areas where it will make the most positive difference to people’s lives.”

Darling cited the measures in last year’s fiscal stimulus plan as evidence for public spending helping the economy during the recession.

He said: “For the economy to recover, targeted public investment is essential for the creation of the new jobs of the future.”

Previous administrations had failed: “To invest in transport and vital national infrastructure. All damaging to our economy and prosperity,” he said.

The statement implies a new round of privatisation or sales to keep public coffers full.

Readers' comments (1)

  • where will Mr Darling start the sell off....Northern Rock perhaps

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