Chris Leslie MP, Labour's Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, responding to today’s public sector finance figures, said:
“These figures show that the government’s failed economic policies have been totally self-defeating as a flatlining economy has seen deficit reduction grind to a halt.
“Underlying borrowing was essentially the same last year as the year before and the OBR forecasts it will be around the same this year. And the lack of economic growth means the government is now set to borrow £245 billion more than planned simply to pay for the costs of their economic failure. George Osborne no longer has a deficit reduction plan. In fact, at this rate, it will take 400 years to balance the books.
“After three years of failure the Chancellor should listen to Labour and the IMF and realise that without growth you cannot get the deficit down. Alongside sensible spending cuts and tax rises we need a jobs and growth plan, including building thousands of affordable homes and a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long term unemployed. And instead of a tax cut for millionaires, we need a 10p starting rate of tax to help make work pay and ease the squeeze on people on middle and low incomes.
“Independent forecasts suggest Thursday’s GDP figures will show small positive growth. But growth of just 0.3 per cent would simply mean the economy is back to where it was six months ago. After nearly three years of stagnation we need to see decisive evidence this week that a strong and sustained recovery is finally underway.”