Hunt to set out plan for growth as criticism mounts

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Desk report: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will set out his plan to boost growth on Friday, as criticism mounts over the government’s plan for the economy.

In his speech in central London, Mr Hunt will outline the opportunities in what he called “the growth sectors which will define this century”.

He will also pledge to build on “the freedoms which Brexit provides”.

But it comes in a week the government has faced accusations that it has no long-term plan for growth.

On Monday, the CBI business group warned the UK is lagging behind rivals on green growth.

The next day, insolvency firm Begbies Traynor said the number of firms on the brink of going bust jumped by more than a third at the end of last year.

And on Thursday, car firms warned the UK has not got a strategy to attract manufacturers.

Speaking at Bloomberg’s Headquarters in London, Mr Hunt will set out how the government plans to achieve growth in multiple sectors across the UK.

The speech will focus on key growth industries such as digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and creative industries.

He will also set out a long-term plan to tackle poor productivity.

“It is a plan necessitated, energised and made possible by Brexit which will succeed if it becomes a catalyst for the bold choices we need to take,” he will say.

Looking at the wider picture, Mr Hunt will say that “declinism about Britain” was wrong before and is wrong today, adding that some downbeat forecasts “do not reflect the whole picture”.

He will praise what he calls “British genius and British hard work”, and promise to turn that into prosperity in the long term.

It is the chancellor’s first big economic speech since he took office in October, outside of the Autumn Statement and his speech to reverse most of Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

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