The Spectator

George Osborne’s speech on the economy: full text

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today I want to talk to you about this government’s plan for economic recovery. Now, you’re probably thinking that a construction site is a strange place to make a speech. But I’ve invited you here for a reason. This development – 1 Commercial Street – began in 2007. The plan was to turn this building into 21 floors of office space, private apartments and affordable housing. Construction began; and continued at a pace. Until in 2008 the work simply stopped. Investors pulled out. Jobs were lost. And the site lay silent for three years. But last year, something exciting happened. Construction began again.

Today, 230 people are working here at 1 Commercial Street to complete the development – and it will open its doors next year. I’ve brought you here because this building is a physical reminder of what our economy has been through in the last six years. The message from here to the British people is this.

The economic collapse was even worse than we thought. Repairing it will take even longer than we hoped. But we held our nerve when many told us to abandon our plan. And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner. Many risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we mustn’t go back to square one. We mustn’t lose what the British people have achieved. This is a hard, difficult road we have been following. But it is the only way to deliver a sustained, lasting improvement in the living standards of the families of this country.

For I’m going to make another argument today: you don’t solve the pressure on cost of living with simply a shopping list of interventions and government regulation.

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