Britain's recession-hit economy is healing but the government must do more to boost growth, including speeding up infrastructure projects, boosting airport capacity and creating a small business bank to increase lending, Britain's finance minister said on Sunday.
George Osborne has come under increasing pressure to take more action to revitalise the country's flagging economy, prompting some politicians from the Conservative Party to call for him to change his policies or go.
"Our economy is healing, jobs are being created. It is taking time, but there is no easy route to a magical recovery," he told the BBC.
"We have to do more and we have to do it faster," he said.
He said the government would push for measures to speed up construction plans and said legislation would be announced next week to allow the government to underwrite infrastructure projects.
One potential infrastructure project that has become highly controversial is a third runway at Britain's largest airport Heathrow, something explicitly ruled out by the Conservatives in their pre-election manifesto and opposed by environmental groups and people living nearby.
Osborne said all options should be examined, but political consensus must be reached. Foreign Secretary William Hague on Sunday told Sky News that a third runway was not an option.
Osborne said the low level of bank lending was one of the economy's key weaknesses, and proposed a "small business bank" to bring together existing schemes to boost lending to small businesses.
"The weakness in our banking system is one of the biggest problems we've got .... we do need to actively consider now and actively work on as we are at the Treasury a small business bank sponsored by the government," he said, giving no further details.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas. Editing by David Milliken and Jane Merriman)
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