Clegg admits to Coalition infrastructure spending mistake

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg has spoken of a regret in the Coalition's early economic policy. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive

The Deputy Prime Minister has admitted the Government has made an economic mistake by not spending enough on big infrastructure projects like construction.

Speaking to the political magazine The House, Nick Clegg said there was a cut in capital spending - an admission the Government's critics, and in particular Labour, will pounce on.

He said:

If I'm going to be sort of self-critical, there was this reduction in capital spending when we came into the Coalition Government But I think we've all realised that you actually need, in order to foster a recovery, to try and mobilise as much public and private capital into infrastructure as possible.

Asked whether the Government will change tack if there's a triple dip recession, Clegg said the Coalition needs to put money back in the pockets of those on middle and low incomes.

At the same time he dismisses claims that he's not in favour of helping better off families with child care costs.

The Government has yet to announce its package on this, but there were reports that the Deputy Prime Minister would only agree to helping those on the very lowest incomes.

Mr Clegg, it seems, is keen to prove he cares about the 'squeezed middle' as much as he does those at the very bottom. He can't afford not to.

But by accepting that the Coalition hasn't got it completely right on economic spending, he seems to have opened up the Government to criticism from all sides.

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