Investment could store up trouble

NEWS that the British government is proposing a major programme of public investment in an attempt to ease the economic crisis looks good on paper, but could be storing up problems for the future.

NEWS that the British government is proposing a major programme of public investment in an attempt to ease the economic crisis looks good on paper, but could be storing up problems for the future.

During the 1930s government spending programmes helped nations across the globe emerge from the Great Depression - the New Deal in America is still held up as the blueprint for how to deal with a major crisis.

Major building projects such as the Olympic Park and Crossrail will provide jobs and give under-pressure construction firms welcome work - it will also be cheaper to get them to do government projects when there is not the competition from the private sector.

And the fact is that times of depression have always been accompanied by government spending - like the motorway explosion of the 70s and 80s and the reshaping of the cities in the north of England in the early 1990s.

However the government is storing up potential problems for the future by spending money that it does not have in its coffers.

It is borrowing against a rosier future - after spending the surplus it built up over the good times on major investment in hospitals, schools, universities and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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By committing itself to spending money it does not currently have there are two major concerns - that taxes will have to go when the good times roll again to pay for it.

And when things do pick up again there will be no money left for any further investment in public services for a decade or even a generation.

Of course the cynics might say that the current government won't be in power when the bills come in so someone else will have to clear up the mess they have created!

ONE bright spot on the economic gloom of the last few weeks has been the drop in fuel prices - even though they are now falling much more slowly than they went up in the early summer.

However it is difficult to escape the conclusion that some filling stations and garages are ripping motorists off with prices much higher than other places.

It is not difficult to understand that a traditional small village garage that sells a tiny amount of fuel alongside a car repair business might have a higher price, but it is difficult to understand the economic justification that motorway service stations could have for selling fuel at a much higher price than the pumps at supermarkets which may be only a mile or two away.

It is time that the government carried out a widespread investigation into the sale of fuel - and named and shamed those companies who have been cynically exploiting motorists.

A HOME draw against Swansea might not be the end of the world - but it is hardly the kind of result which will have the disenchanted Town fans heading back to Portman Road.

Pablo Counago might have once again proved his worth to the Ipswich faithful, but if the team is really to seek to repeat the exploits of Hull last season, we need to see much better performances.

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