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Scotland's Plan B success shows way for UK recovery

21/06/2011
Scotland's Plan B success shows way for UK recovery

Construction employment in Scotland has risen by 10% in the last year, stoked by its commitment to keep up capital spending.

First Minister Alex Salmond today called on the Chancellor George Osborne to examine Scotland's success in stimulating its economy and adopt a Plan B based on investment in construction in the rest of the UK.

He said: "By accelerating forward capital investment we have managed to bring about a strong recovery in the construction industry.

"Construction employment in Scotland is up by 10% over the past year, while it has flat lined across the rest of UK.

Speaking this morning on the BBC4 Today programme, Salmond said he had spoken to the Chancellor about the need to invest in capital spending and sensed he was warming to the argument for stimulating economic growth.

"Generally speaking it's difficult to get a sustained economic recovery overall unless your construction industry is moving forward," explained Salmond.

He revealed that two weeks ago he had a long discussion with the Chancellor and that at yesterday's British-Irish Council meeting there was a great deal of discussion about stimulating growth.

Salmond said that whether it was called Plan B or flexibility around Plan A did not matter.

"I hope that what I and the other administrations brought forward yesterday is listened to by the Chancellor, because it's in all our interests that the economy across these Islands starts moving forward a lot more quickly than it is at the moment."

Salmond said he detected a softening in the Chancellor's tough line on sticking to present spending plans.

"I may be being optimistic, but I detect that the mood music is a realisation that, if it is possible to increase spending without panicking the markets, and there is evidence that increased capital spending would allow him to do that, then the Chancellor may be quite interested in doing it."

He added: "By promoting as much economic certainty as possible, people even in these times of heavily rising bills could get on with behaving like responsible consumers investing in the future, buying houses and helping to get the economy moving."