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PM urged to spend big

Gilbert: ‘Johnson is right man for the right time’

Martin Gilbert

Martin Gilbert: ‘Johnson will give the country confidence’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Standard Life Aberdeen vice chairman Martin Gilbert has thrown his support behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling him “the right man for the right time”.

Mr Gilbert, who will be leaving Standard Life Aberdeen in September, urged the Prime Minister to invest in Britain to reinvigorate the country.

His comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos come follow data showing a 0.3% fall in GDP in November and the prospect of an interest rate cut next week. Upbeat unemployment figures may cause the Bank of England to hold back, but the growth remains stagnant.

Mr Gilbert said Mr Johnson was “the right man for the time, at the moment, I think he will give the country confidence”.

He told CNBC: “I think everyone is speaking about infrastructure spend, where we’re going to spend it, all of the things we should be doing. I’ve been a believer in borrowing at these, sort of, 200-year low interest rates, and investing in the infrastructure of the country, which will get the economy going.”

Mr Johnson made a number of spending pledges in the run-up to December’s general election, but faces a number of big decisions on infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

Speaking about the fund management business, Mr Gilbert said: “It’s a tough time for the industry,” but adding that the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management, which he founded, with Standard Life, was “the right thing to do”.

The latest labour market figures show UK employment jumped 208,000 in the three months to November to reach a new record high of 32,901 million, beating the previous peak of 32.811 million achieved in the three months to June 2019. The unemployment rate of 3.8% is the equal lowest level since the end of 1974.

Scotland’s economic plan

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today launches his latest plan for the economy.

He said: “The refreshed Economic Action Plan sets out how we will tackle the climate emergency, grow an inclusive economy, and face up to the challenges of Brexit, changing demographics and shifting global circumstances.

“I want to ensure that we continue to support innovation, improve skills and stimulate growth in employment. We must do all this while also contributing towards our ambitious net-zero targets.”

Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies have come together to develop this new website. to offer more support.

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