Rail link will help reflate economy

THE cheapest way to reflate the economy is to invest in transport infrastructure - roads and railways - because when completed, the projects are not as labour intensive as hospitals and schools.

Graham Dines

THE cheapest way to reflate the economy is to invest in transport infrastructure - roads and railways - because when completed, the projects are not as labour intensive as hospitals and schools.

Given concern over climate change, it's hardly likely that the UK will embark on a mass motorway construction programme although some well overdue by-passes might get the nod.

But there is considerable scope to develop the rail network. That's not just a high speed network but also reopening some long defunct routes. If our artificial region is ever going to become cohesive and economically strong, there is a desperate need for improved east-west links, which is why Network Rail, the Department for Transport and all local authorities should be joining forces to fast track the plans to revive the Oxford to Cambridge link, which will also serve Milton Keynes.

GORDON'S BUILDING SOCIETY HAS PROBELMS

THE recession has really struck Gordon Brown's back yard as the Dunfermline Building Society becomes the latest casualty of the toxic mortgage saga which started the worldwide recession. The Government is reportedly planning a �60 million bail-out of the building society amid fears it is poised to reveal huge losses, but the Scottish National Party which controls the devolved parliament wants to ensure that its fingerprints are all over the rescue package.

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The Financial Services Authority is understood to have approached a number of rival building societies to try to secure a takeover offer for one of Scotland's main supporters of social housing.

The building society is “technically bust.” Dunfermline is thought to be on the brink of announcing an expected loss of �26 million in the next few weeks, compared with a �2 million profit in 2007, and it is understood its woes stem from its exposure to bad loans in the commercial property market.

The Dunfermline, which is headquartered in Mr Brown's neighbouring constituency, has been ailing for some months. As Britain's 14th largest building society and the biggest north of the border, the ramifications if it failed would be a political disaster for the Prime Minister.

But is preventing Mr Brown from becoming embarrassed any reason to pump in public money? Of itself, of course not - but even though small savers are covered for up to �50,000 (�100,000 for couples) under the Government's protection scheme, to let a building society fold would send shock waves through a reeling economy.

CANADA'S INFANDOUS INSULT!

THE use by the Canadian authorities of the obsolete word infandous in their announcement banning Respect MP George Galloway from their country started a stampede to find the nearest dictionary. The definition is “too odious to mention or express” to which “Gorgeous” George understandably took exception.

Now I wonder who'll be the first MP to use infandous at Prime Minister's Questions?