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With next month’s European elections looming, and a general election just over a year away, the government is now vigorously trying to shift the political narrative away from the downsides of “austerity” and instead towards the benefits that derive from the prudent control of day-to-day spending.

Last week, a clutch of ministers – including George Osborne and David Cameron – were photographed inspecting building projects across the country, hard hats and high-visibility jackets in abundance. The message was that the coalition is delivering on infrastructure, as the Treasury conveniently published an updated list of major projects set to be completed or started in 2014/15.

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