‘We must learn from the world’s financial difficulties’, experts warn at Labour Party fringe meeting

By Craig Jones

Experts discussed plans to safeguard Britain’s economic future at a Labour Party fringe meeting, yesterday.

Some of the country’s leading transport representatives met at Manchester’s, Novotel hotel, on Dickinson Street to express their views.

The event took place during the Labour Party Conference.

Stephen Joseph, Executive Director for the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We all know how damaging the recession was.

“To help the country fight the deficit we need to invest in plans that offer a near instant return, to safeguard against any unforeseen future financial decay.”

Mr. Joseph emphasised that every department of the government had to learn from the world’s financial difficulties.

He suggested that the coalition government should overhaul their forecasting system and partake in ‘scenario planning’ as he believed the country would be able to cope much better in the long term.

Policy Exchange’s Chief Economist, Andrew Lilico, agreed with Mr Joseph and called for the government to be strong in making tough, possibly unpopular decisions.

He said: “Our government needs to be ruthless and shouldn’t back down if members of the public don’t agree with what they believe to be right.

“The most important thing now in this time of potential cutbacks is to ensure they act decisively and back plans that will make a profit.”

Network Rail’s Head of Public Affairs, Ed Wilson, thinks the government would be wise investing in transport developments which he believes will return a welcomed financial boost.

He said: “The need for the government to make sound investments is essential to our future and they need to be sure in identifying the sector that can improve our economy.

“In my opinion, the obvious decision is to improve our rail services. Good rail links will improve the private sector and their dependence on using trains.”

Mr Wilson, also spoke of the other benefits rail investment would create. He said: “The government should also consider the environmental merit of such an investment as more rail links will be the best way of cutting down on our carbon emissions.”

All three representatives acknowledged that the government’s cutback decisions are going to be difficult as all departments will offer convincing arguments to back them.    

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