We must be bold – Brexit must unleash our economy to boom, says TIM NEWARK

We must be bold – Brexit must unleash our economy to boom, says TIM NEWARK

Liz Truss

Liz Truss could well be a contender for the Tory leadership (Image: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Fully embracing Brexit, she said yesterday: "This year's Spending Review will set government budgets from 2020 – and it's vital we use it as a catalyst to unleash the economy."

Previously, she has banged the drum for a gung-ho Brexit, saying: "If we get this right, we can set Britain on course for a turbocharged future."

If she carries on like this, Miss Truss could well be a contender for the Tory leadership with her optimistic vision of our years ahead outside the European Union.

Most importantly, she says we must spend our money carefully to ensure we get growth and value.

That means "examining all major investment projects across government and judging their contribution to future prosperity –  we must be prepared to junk the white elephants, the programmes that haven't worked".

Top of this list must be HS2, the rail project that is spiralling upwards from its £56billion budget to possibly £80billion.

Could not a smaller sum of money be spent on making our existing rail network more efficient?

Coming into London from the south-west, I've had to endure years of disruption due to so-called modernisation and yet the journey into Paddington is no faster.

In fact, there have been more delays.

Scepticism is, quite rightly, high – with Crossrail failing to open on time last year and costing way more than expected.

Having visited China – where modern bullet trains are a marvel to behold – there is certainly a case to be made for an improved infrastructure tying a country together and spreading wealth around, but these massive public projects need to be handled with greater management skill and accountability.

Above all we need to generate the national wealth to pay for them.

Miss Truss is right to say that the Tories must not enter into a "spending bidding war with Labour".

Jeremy Corbyn

A Jeremy Corbyn Marxist government would waste our taxpayer billions (Image: Getty)

A Jeremy Corbyn Marxist government would waste our taxpayer billions on renationalising many of our utilities to no great improvement and would give away billions on keeping people on the dole.

The Treasury minister argues: "We will also look at how budgets contribute to human capital, including how much they genuinely boost aspiration and opportunity."

Our education system needs to be recalibrated.

We need more engineers and scientists to create the innovations of the future.

And not everyone needs to go to university, emerging with a £50,000 debt, if they can gain more practical, useful experience by leaving school to go straight into work.

Above all we need to create the incentive for entrepreneurs to invest in this country.

There seems to be some reluctance to grab the opportunity afforded by Brexit to make the UK a hugely attractive country for doing business by slashing our corporate tax rates.

Somehow it's considered ungentlemanly to be so bluntly competitive with the EU.

But why not?

Brussels has certainly done us no favours recently and why not get them to sharpen up their act by letting the free market shape our destiny by bringing in investment from all around the world.

We should be so lucky to be the Singapore of the North Sea.

Having also been there recently, it's a wonderfully civilised, low-crime, busy 21st-century city state that knows that wealth generates benefits for everyone. Its education system is the envy of many.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was there last week and said that Singapore's low-regulation policies should be a model for the UK.

Its low-tax, high-skill regime has transformed it into the eighth richest country in the world and it's no surprise that Sir James Dyson has set up his latest factory there.

But Mr Hunt was harangued for his enthusiasm because it might upset Brussels and make them less inclined to give us a good deal.

Oh dear, poor things.

Clearly they're more interested in protectionism and defending special interest groups against global competition.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Image: Getty)

That's why Theresa May must not sign up to a deal that keeps us shackled to the EU's idea of a level playing field.

We must not be timid, either, to exploit the resources beneath our feet.

It was disappointing to hear last week that local councils are being bullied by noisy campaigners to halt shale gas extraction.

Just so long as fracking sticks to environmental guidelines, there is no reason why our bounty in this energy could not benefit households and businesses tremendously, providing low-cost power for decades.

If we are going to make any success of Brexit, we must become braver and evoke that world-conquering spirit that enriched us in the first place.

Liz Truss's no-nonsense attitude towards government expenditure being used to make our nation more match fit for future challenges is a welcome addition to that approach. If only more of our MPs had the same faith in our nation.

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