Britain needs a sustainable and balanced economy not just to help fund public services but because growth and enterprise create jobs and opportunities for all. Liberal Democrats believe that there is much to be done to create an economy that ensures that the whole population benefits from the technological advances ahead.
Right now Scotland’s economy is on the edge of recession. We need a radical programme of investment to boost growth, develop new infrastructure fit for the future and get our economy back on track. This includes everything from investing in new railways and housing to ensuring that everyone has access to superfast broadband
We know that housing shortages are a massive problem so we will build 300,000 homes a year across the UK as well as investing in schools and hospitals. These proposals will mean extra capital spending available to the Scottish Parliament.
The Conservatives have chosen to risk the long-term future of our economy by limiting spending on infrastructure and creating an over-reliance on consumer spending fuelled by debt to prop up growth. Rather than this short-term approach, Liberal Democrats will commit to a responsible and realistic £100billion package of additional infrastructure investment. That’s why alongside the priorities above we will invest in:
- Additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy.
- £5 billion of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these priorities.
- Capital investment in low-carbon and resource-efficient innovation.
As well as the need for public infrastructure investment, the role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in delivering a thriving economy is fundamental. Liberal Democrats believe there is a need for access to finance for new businesses, and those wishing to scale up.
Liberal Democrats would expand the state-owned British Business Bank, to provide funds for growing firms and support new jobs in a high-wage, high-skill economy and create a new ‘start up allowance’ to help those starting a new business with their living costs in the crucial first weeks of their business. We would also reform the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation, and support new markets and investment, particularly in low-carbon and resource-efficient innovation.
Finally, the Liberal Democrats recognises that in the economy of the future, scientific research, innovation and skills will be crucial to prosperity. The government needs to act now to ensure this technological march can benefit everyone and that no areas are left in technology’s wake. That’s why we will protect the science budget by continuing to raise it at least in line with inflation as part of a long-term of doubling innovation and research spending across the economy and build on the Coalition’s industrial strategy, working with sectors which are critical to Britain’s ability to trade internationally.