Brown’s 21st-century New Deal to create 100,000 jobs

By Alex Stevenson

The government will create around 100,000 new jobs through a series of public works programmes similar to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, Gordon Brown has revealed.

School rebuilds will help struggling construction companies while investment in superfast broadband will be the modern-age equivalent of 1930s America’s focus on road and rail links.

“I want to show how we will be able, through public investments and public works, to create probably 100,000 additional jobs over the next period of time in our capital investment programme – schools, hospitals, environmental work and infrastructure, transport,” the prime minister told the Observer newspaper.

“We are not going to stand by and allow nothing to be done when people are facing difficulties.”

Mr Brown said he viewed the environment as “part of the solution” and wants projects looking at alternative energy sources to be part of the plan.

The British Chambers of Commerce has predicted one in ten Britons will be unemployed by 2010 and the prime minister wants to act to limit the impact this will have through his range of public works.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Vince Cable said more details of the job creation programme were needed, but said the plans were very similar to those backed by his party before Christmas.

“We need to know more details about how this programme will be financed and what Gordon Brown means by bringing investment forward. This must not mean that investment should be cut next year if the economy is still in serious difficulty,” he said.

“Although sensible public investment is welcome, the jobs created will be overwhelmed by the job losses which most business organisations now expect.”

Mr Brown dismissed the Observer’s questions about funding for the programme, however.

“I’m more optimistic about our ability to be a successful economy creating large amounts of wealth in the future,” he added.