Labour on attack over Government’s ‘economic failure’

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Official forecasts have revealed the “true scale of the Government’s economic failure”, Labour claimed.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls seized on the figures produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility which predicted the economy would shrink by 0.1 per cent this year.

Responding to the Autumn Statement, Mr Balls claimed the UK was “falling behind in the global race” as a result of Mr Osborne’s management of the economy.

Mr Balls said the economy had flatlined since the 2010 spending review. “Over the last two years, the Chancellor was expecting 4.6 per cent growth. He has actually achieved 0.6 per cent growth.

“Compared to 1.7 per cent in France, 3.6 per cent in Germany and 4.1 per cent in America – falling behind in the global race.”

The Morley and Outwood MP said: “Today, after two and a half years, we can see, people can feel in the country, the true scale of this Government’s economic failure.

“Our economy this year is contracting, the Chancellor has confirmed Government borrowing is revised up this year, next year and every year.”

The deficit had been revised up and national debt was rising, Mr Balls said.

“It is people who are already struggling to make ends meet, middle and lower-income families and pensioners who are paying the price, while millionaires get a tax cut – a £3bn welfare handout to the people who need it least.”

Mr Balls claimed it was “the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War now followed by the slowest recovery in the last 100 years”.

He added: “The Chancellor’s fiscal strategy has been completely derailed.

“The defined purpose of the Government, the cornerstone of the coalition, the one test they set themselves – to balance the books and get the debt falling by 2015 – is now in tatters.”