Salmond calls for money for investment in 'Plan MacB'

David Cameron, Alex Salmond Alex Salmond thinks David Cameron should listen to his advice and prioritise capital spending


"Worse than before"

It was the day the prime minister and his deputy broke the news to the electorate - if, that is, they weren't already aware of it - that the economy is not on course. The global economic news is worse than expected a few weeks ago, unemployment is higher and growth is going to be much lower.

Adding his voice to those calling for a change of strategy is Scotland's first minister.

With unemployment falling in Scotland as it rises in the rest of the UK Alex Salmond says the Chancellor should listen to his advice and follow what he calls "Plan MacB".

The Scottish government have prioritised capital spending and want George Osborne to give them the money to invest in building more houses and a series of small road projects.

Salmond, an economist by training, argues that the markets will not take fright at an increase in investment spending designed to stimulate growth.

He also argues that his approach to cutting public spending - which includes a promise of no compulsory redundancies - has helped maintain consumer confidence. He fears that the looming confrontation over public sector pensions risks shattering that.

Downing Street insists that any plan B which involves more spending is a plan for bankruptcy.

They say that now - with the German chancellor and the French president trying to stave off a Greek default - is the worst possible time to talk of changing course.

Nevertheless, there is a desperate search behind the scenes for ways to get the economy growing again and the pressure on them is only going to mount.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Salmond doesnt give a monkeys so long as the English are paying for it. The more he can ladle on the better, so far as he's concerned. Might be different when it comes to their own money.


    The weeds are probably dying thanks to the fact that someone has had a scorched earth policy before being sacked as self appointed head gardener, (In)Capability Brown...

    ... I'll get my coat....

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I think you will find that official statistics show Scotland pays more in tax than it receives from the UK government. Therefore your argument is null and void.

    Salmond is completely right, he is not advocating more spending, simply redirecting existing priorities towards capital spending which helps promote growth and employment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.


    Nick will wheel out whoever makes the tories look bad and the soft left North London dinner party "intelligentsia" look good.

    Its what the BBC does. Expect to see more of Polly Toynbee, Robert Peston, Kevin Maguire, John Prescott, and other such Question Time favourites with their barrow-loads of common denominator appeasing opprobrium continuing to beat a path to Television Centre.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    The only way to create jobs is to fix the economy: the Tories have never done that. Thatcher's lot collapsed the real economy (making stuff) in the 1980s to curb inflation; the "Price worth Paying". Cameron's lot are doing the same by public sector cuts. UK needs infrastructure improvement to help the economy long-term, e.g. for energy production so it's cheaper for consumers & business in future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    The amount of money that Scotland receives from the UK government is weighted in their favour. If this sum was simply set the same as everywhere in the UK they would not be able to do all the things they brag about (education, care).

    Lets have the balance reset and then see what Salmond has to brag about.

    On the subject of debt. We need to pay off debt before we end up like Greece. No argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.


    Theres no point bothering an attention seeking troll like you with the truth or other factors that are going on Jon. If you're quite happily sailing down your own Alimentary Canal, full steam ahead regardless, on you go. All I was trying to say is that the two economies are not the same.

    But because it doesnt fit with your non objective tory hating agenda, you dont wanna know. Suits me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    4. Chris Whitrow "Spending cuts have sent our economy into a death spiral, as many Keynesian economists predicted last year."

    I think 0.2% growth is some distance from being a "death spiral"!!!

    However, let's say your argument about cuts is right, what reason do you give for the vast majority of other Western economies for suffering the same slowdown"?
    As far as I know USA hasn't agreed any cuts

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Is Nick Robinson / BBC being slightly mischievious, here, n'est pa?
    The pro-Scotland independence lobby have complained long and hard about English interference / control ruining the country, and that freedom from Whitehall will be the panacea for all ills. So why would Osborne accept Salmond's smug suggestion?
    When it all goes wrong in Scotland, will Nick wheel Salmond out again? I think not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Should Scotland join the Euro NOW?

    You want a Plan B what better than this! All 'plans' scare the bankers because it curbs their gambling - and this is no bad thing!

    What is Scotland's debt to GDP ratio? We need to know so that we (bankers) can gamble against the interests of the Scottish people!!!

    Advice: Work out what you want, cost it and go for it! (While you still have some oil!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Salmond works on a finite budget, he cannot overspend . Anything he spends has to be taken from somewhere else.

    Windfarms? Wars? 2012 Olympics? Superfast trains? Unmanageable IT projects?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Total UK private and public sector debt is projected to be over £10 trillion by 2015 (PWC). It is not just a public sector debt problem.

    Reducing debt quickly risks a recession; reducing it slowly, or not at all, will dampen growth for decades to come.

    Reducing debt is not a 5-year project. We should think of at least 20 years of low growth (and relative Western economic decline).

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    There was always a plan B. Plan A was for public consumption while plan B was what they would really have to do. Plan A, tough on deficit, ruthless on waste and inefficiency,cuts in public spending is about image. Plan B is about reality, a gently declining deficit. modest savings and spending more but at a slower rate. What a Labour, Lib/lab or any other Gov't would do. Alex is twisting the knife

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    This is a nothing story. As for investment in Scotland the Edinburgh tramway debacle is worth pondering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Osborne hasn't listened to any of the rest of the chorus who have been pointing out the obvious, so why should he listen to Salmond? Although to be fair, in Salmond's case he's probably trying to spot a hidden agenda.

    The economy is a garden, George. When even the weeds are dying it's probably time to water it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Of course the alternative to Plan MacB is the Proper Tory way: stimulate the economy without cutting cuts is tax breaks for the rich ‘wealth creators’.

    I think the only reason this hasn’t been employed so far is fear of public reaction but give it a couple of months.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Salmond works on a finite budget, he cannot overspend . Anything he spends has to be taken from somewhere else. What he is going to spend on capital projects will be at the expense of something else. Maybe he thinks the windmills he insists on building will pay for maintaining employment in the bloated public services he is so adamant he will not reduce.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Our economy or economies now that Scotland isthopefully to become independent at some stage, will have to crash - and I mean really crash - before anything constructive & home grown & not globalised is done to improve things.

    Its now become a fundamental facet of human behaviour - failure to face up to reality - the GB house is going to be re-possesed and the bailiff looks ... 'Chinese'

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Tory stagnation deniers eventually got to work and started posting (16,14)

    So you think the UK economy is doing well ?

    Or is it all down to global conditions, not your tory chums ?

    Tories: taking labours mess and making it worse (then denying it)

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Because the multipliers are different, transferring resources from current spending to capital expenditure will have a positive effect on economic growth. This can be done without increasing borrowing.

    Further policies that will help are a) reduce the top tax rate to 40%; and b) abolish all green energy taxes and targets until the National Debt is 40% of GDP; c) cut the aid budget by 50%

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    I thought the Scottish plan was to run two of the worst banks ever seen & then get the tax payer to bail them out


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