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Media roundup: Chancellor to give £600m for 100 free schools

What the weekend papers said about tomorrow’s autumn statement.

The autumn statement is expected to contain an announcement that there will be £600 million to build an additional 100 new free schools, it was widely reported at the weekend.

The BBC said the money would not come from the existing education budget and the Chancellor would explain its source on Tuesday. At least a dozen of the schools are expected to specialise in maths, according to the Daily Mail.

The Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation’s latest figures, due this morning, are expected to predict that the UK’s economy will slip back into recession at the start of the next year.

In an interview with the Observer yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Clearly, it is unrealistic of us to pretend that the recovery is going to happen on the trajectory we originally predicted. The light at the end of the tunnel has receded a bit.”

He also said the 40 infrastructure projects due to be announced by George Osborne will be carefully chosen to be “shovel-ready” – creating jobs immediately – and good for long-term growth. The Observer quoted Construction News’ exlusive on the projects the construction industry would most like brought forward. Mr Clegg told the paper:

“We have got to make sure that the capital we have got goes further. Housing and transport projects are two areas where it’s win, win, win. You create jobs, it’s socially useful, and you boost the long-term growth capacity of the country.

“Combined with what we’re doing on the youth contract, it represents not only a short-term attempt by us to get the wheels of the economy moving, but also a far-sighted view that these are the things that help the long-term potential of the economy anyway.”

All the papers gave some detail of what the Chancellor’s “credit easing” proposals are going to look like - with the government underwriting bank lending for SMEs.

Estimations of the amount of lending started at £10bn and had risen to £40bn by this morning. Response to the plans varied. In the Observer, Will Hutton warned take up would be too low to make a difference and suggested an alternative plan.



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