On every economic test the coalition Government set itself, it has failed.
Three years in there is no growth, prices rise faster than wages, the
deficit is going up and the Government is set to borrow a staggering
£212 billion more than planned. Even the triple-A credit rating has been lost.
Britain desperately needs a change of direction. But how? The example is before our eyes. I have been proud to Chair the Crossrail All Party Parliamentary Group for the last eight years and see the project come so far from early visions, to plans, to legislation and then to the construction which began under the Labour government and is continuing under the present coalition government. The first trains will run on the route in five years under the next government. Crossrail is the largest engineering project in Europe. It is vital for our capital city and the economic future of our country. The challenges are great as I saw when I visited the huge tunnelling operation at Bond Street. Crossrail is also training hundreds of apprentices through its contractors as well as at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy at Lugg Approach on the edge of my constituency.
Last week I hosted the Crossrail Apprenticeship awards at the House of Commons and met the inspirational group of nominees. I was alsoinspired on Friday at Excel in Docklands at the national finals of the "BigBang" National Science and Engineering awards where I met girls from Ilford Ursuline Academy competing against thousands of other young people from schools all over the country.
We desperately need new plans and initiatives to bring forward otherlong-term infrastructure projects and invest in science and engineeringand in new schools, housing, nurseries, roads and transport. Investing now will strengthen our economy for the future.