Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ed Balls column in the Daily Mirror

Last year George Osborne tried to claim that Britain was a “safe haven”, even as his economics errors were choking recovery. Daily Mirror readers weren’t fooled. Now, after months of rising unemployment and strangling growth, even credit agencies are starting to ring alarm about the British economy.

Families , pensioners , young people and business already know things are tough – well before the international financial market watchers put Britain on “negative outlook “. yesterday. Thousand of jobs are being lost each month, a record number of young people are out of work and our economy has gone into reverse.

The Tory led government is giving banks a tax cut this year but hitting families hard with tax rise and cuts to tax credits.

Yet Cameron and Osborne said all the pain was needed to cut the deficit.

But we now know their to balance the books by 2015 won’t be met. Osborne is set to borrow £158 billion more than planned- the price of his failed economic plan and a growing dole queue.

The last thing Ministers clung to was the views of the credit rating agencies – which the Chancellor repeatedly boasted had given a “vote of confidence “in his policies. Keeping their approval seemed to be the most important thing, even tough these agencies got it so wrong before – giving a top rating to the American bank Lehman Brothers just before it went bust.

Now they have fired a warning shot at George Osborne – blaming the weaker economic growth we have seen on this government’s watch. After the global crash , every nation has to take tough decisions on tax , spending and pay to reduce the deficit.

But, as Labour always warned, trying to go too far and too fast would backfire.

We said it would choke recovery, put more people on the dole claiming benefit and so make it harder to get the deficit down. That’s exactly what has happened and even the rating agencies are stating to realise this.

But Cameron and Osborne won’t admit failure. Today we’ll see the heavy price we are paying for their complacency, when we learn how many people are still out of work.

Labour won’t just stand by.

We would put a tax on bank bonuses to fund 100.000 jobs for young people, We’d cut VAT to put money back in people’s pockets and get our economy moving again.

And we‘d give tax breaks to small firms taking on extra workers.

Our five- point plan for jobs and growth is a fairer and better way to get the deficit down. It ‘s times this out of touch Tory led government realised their policies aren’t working.