John Denham, your Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, has reacted to news that the economy is now shrinking by more than expected.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s economy suffered a 0.2% contraction in the final quarter of 2011. We already know that the Tories and Lib Dems will be unable to reduce the entire deficit – and instead they are borrowing £158 billion more than planned. Their economic plan has failed and now everyone else is suffering.
Mr Denham, in response to growth figures for the final quarter of 2011, said:
“George Osborne told us the economy would grow and unemployment would go down. Today it is confirmed the economy is shrinking and unemployment is rising. The deficit is not going to be eliminated by 2015 as promised, but rather the UK is going to borrow £158 billion more than planned.
“We can’t go on like this. The Tory-led Government’s ‘Plan A’ simply is not working but it is hurting – we’ve seen this in Southampton where we have over 5,000 people unemployed. It’s time the Government put its arrogance to one side, and accept they’ve got it wrong, to get our economy moving again”
Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:
“The British recovery has been stalling since the Government’s spending review in the autumn of 2010, but now the economy has gone into reverse. Since the Chancellor’s spending review the economy has grown by just 0.3% compared to the 3.0% the Government predicted.
“And far from the eurozone crisis being to blame, it is only rising exports that kept us out of recession last year. By clobbering the economy with spending cuts and tax rises that go too far and too fast, the Government has left us badly exposed if the eurozone crisis deepens this year. This was entirely avoidable and the Chancellor cannot say he wasn’t warned.
“These figures are a damning indictment of David Cameron and George Osborne’s failed economic plan. Families, pensioners and businesses know it’s hurting – but the evidence is now overwhelming that on jobs, growth and the deficit it’s just not working.
“The time has now come for David Cameron and George Osborne to listen to advice, including yesterday from the chief economist of the IMF. The cautious thing to do is to act now, but the reckless thing to do is just to plough on regardless with a plan that isn’t working and causing huge damage. Labour’s five point plan for jobs would help get our economy moving, get Britain back to work and so help get the deficit down in a fairer, better way.
“Of course there need to be tough decisions on spending, tax and pay, but trying to go too far and too fast ends up backfiring. Rising unemployment and a lack of growth means the Government won’t now balance the books by 2015 and are set to borrow £158 billion more than planned. And this Government’s failure on the economy means the next Labour government will inherit a substantial deficit. We will have to sort out the deficit, clear up George Osborne’s economic mess and deliver social justice in tougher times.
“As we have consistently argued cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast would choke off the recovery. But it’s not too late for this out of touch government to change course and get a plan for jobs and growth.”