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Is it back to the 1980s as Cameron ditches white paper on growth?

Today we have the news from the FT that the white paper on growth promised by the government for last month has been kicked into the long grass.

Apparently were going to get a green paper by Christmas and its unclear what – if anything – will follow, or when.

The FT says the green paper will assess what barriers the government needs to remove to speed growth in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, creative industries and retail. It will also outline what embassies can do to help promote exports. And pull together existing “horizontal” policies, such as improving the skills base, creating a more business-friendly tax regime, easing regulation regulation and improving infrastructure.

In principle, theres nothing there that the last lot werent keen on, too. Theres nothing there to justify the Prime Ministers claim that his government will be the most “pro-growth” ever. Theres nothing to suggest that Vince Cable is turning his rhetoric about a “Department for Growth” into reality. And nothing to suggest the government has any idea how to exploit the “absorptive capacity” David Willetts wants to nurture in universities.

Was all that stuff from Cameron about growth around the time of the CSR just hot air to make the view of the coming cuts a bit more hazy? Is the government really going to retreat to the Thatcher era position that if the government gets out of the way the private sector will by itself generate all the growth we need?

The FT lays the blame at the feet of George Osborne, who it suggests has been too busy cutting to think about growing.

On Thursday I have to go and talk to a group of young entrepreneurs from Tower Hamlets about the glittering opportunities held out by Cameron in his Tech City speech at an event organised by the Young Foundation. What on earth am I supposed to tell them?