Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, responding to today’s retail sales figures, said:
“These are very disappointing figures which show just how much last year’s VAT rise has backfired. Retail sales are not only down in the last month, but down compared to a year ago. And even stripping out petrol sales, which were pushed up at the end of March when the Government needlessly created panic at the pumps, retail sales are still down.
“With Britain now pushed into a recession it’s deeply complacent and out of touch for Ministers to claim that their plan is “on track”. Instead of waiting for things to get even worse, David Cameron and George Osborne must take urgent action now to help create the jobs and growth we need to get the deficit down.
“The IMF has this week talked about a temporary VAT cut, which is part of Labour’s five point jobs plan. It’s time the Chancellor took this advice and started to act. The longer he waits and the longer we have slow growth and high unemployment, the more he’ll end up causing long-term damage to our economy and borrowing billions more to pay for economic failure.”