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Dan Martin

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Stability, stimulus and solidarity key to employment and growth, says Cable

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Stability, stimulus, and solidarity are key to creating employment and turning around the UK’s economic fortunes, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.

He told delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference in Sheffield that the current economic crisis was the financial equivalent of the UK being at war, adding: “It is wishful thinking to imagine that we have a healthy economy being infected by a dangerous foreign virus. Many of our problems are home-grown.”
 
In a largely downbeat speech, Cable noted few positives, although he said that his own Department of Business, Innovation and Skills had produced some “real achievements” over the last year. “We have greatly expanded apprenticeships,” he said. “We protected our science budget and we have launched a chain of Technology Innovation Centres promoting the technologies of the future. We have established a Green Investment Bank to benefit major green projects.”
 
Cable added: “Nick Clegg has driven our Regional Growth Fund, investing in businesses and jobs up and down the country not just the South East.”
 
The Business Secretary also pointed out that his three ‘S’s were key to the UK’s future economic growth. “Stability in the government’s finances – the deficit problem – and in our banks. Stimulus to support growth; sustainable growth based on business investment, exports, green technology and manufacturing. Solidarity to give people a sense of a shared society, reducing our appalling inequalities of income and wealth, and creating a responsible capitalism,” he said.
 
Cable also called for the banks to “perform their basic economic function” of productive investment, something he claimed they were currently failing to do. “Banks operate like a man who either wears his trousers round his chest, stifling breathing, as now, or round his ankles, exposing his assets,” he said. “We want their trousers tied round their middle: steady lending growth; particularly to productive British business, especially small scale enterprise. No more feast and famine in bank lending.”
 
“A lot of responsibility rests on the Bank of England to relax monetary policy further linked to small business lending,” he added.
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