Osborne’s symbol of turning a corner

Jules Birch

The venue for George Osborne’s speech claiming that the economy is ‘turning a corner’ may turn out to be a symbol of rather more than the economic recovery he had in mind.

The Chancellor was speaking at One Commercial Street, a half-finished 21-storey development of shops, offices and homes on the edge of the City of London and his choice of venue was no accident:

‘You’re probably thinking that a construction site is a strange place to make a speech. But I’ve invited you here for a reason. This development – 1 Commercial Street – began in 2007. The plan was to turn this building into 21 floors of office space, private apartments and affordable housing. Construction began; and continued at a pace. Until in 2008 the work simply stopped. Investors pulled out. Jobs were lost. And the site lay silent for three years.

‘But last year, something exciting…

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