George Osborne gave a speech to a CBI dinner in Glasgow last night. It wasn’t the ideal day to do it: the OECD did downgrade its growth forecasts for Britain to minus 0.7 per cent, having previously predicted a 0.5 per cent rise. But the Chancellor remained upbeat, saying:
‘The economic outlook remains uncertain but there are some positive sings. Our economy is healing – jobs are being created, manufacturing and exports have grown as a share of out economy, our trade with the emerging world is soaring, inflation is down, much of the necessary deleveraging in our banking system has been achieved, and the world is once again investing in Britain.’
He also pointedly said that there was not a ‘credible or convincing alternative economic strategy’ on offer currently, nodding to Ed Miliband and Ed Balls’ rather wonkish speech on redistribution earlier in the day. Today Osborne announced a tax break to encourage investment in older oil and gas fields.
Another positive sign emerged this morning, with Amazon announcing it is to create 2,000 more jobs by opening three more distribution centres. David Cameron has already leapt on the announcement, arguing that it ‘shows that the UK has the infrastructure and talent to continue to attract major investments from leading companies such as Amazon’.