Infrastructure ‘vital to kickstart economy’

Major investment in infrastructure projects is needed to kick-start Yorkshire’s economy, leaders of the region’s business community have said.

The Government was urged to show confidence in UK PLC by Yorkshire’s Shadow Monetary Policy Committee yesterday as members called for greater industry freedom through deregulation.

Chairman Jonathan Oxley, senior partner at Leeds law firm Lee and Priestley, said there was a real pent-up desire to get on with business now, with Eurozone uncertainties likely to be “pushed into the long grass indefinitely”.

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“We need a clear confident lead from Government and business leaders,” he said.

“I would endorse the calls for some big infrastructure projects from the Government in particular and let businesses get on with the rest. Some real de-regulation would help that.”

His view was shared by committee members, who meet to discuss the national economic picture.

Judith Donovan, director of DIY Marketing, went further, calling for Business Secretary Vince Cable to be fired, while Nimble Thompson, chairman of NG Bailey and non-executive director of the Institute of Directors, said businesses would continue to sit on their cash until they see the euro problem dealt with.

The US election and “fiscal cliff edge” was also a concern, he said.

Bank of England interest rates should be kept on hold at 0.5 per cent, all but one member voted.

“I see no advantage in the reduction idea – it would make it worse for savers and is not going to affect business,” said Mr Thompson.

But Richard Corby, partner at Edward Symmons LLP, said there could be benefits to raising the rate by 0.25 per cent as “a signal that an upward trend in interest rates could be forthcoming”.

“This may act to stimulate activity,” he said.