Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in response to today’s public sector finances figures, said:
“These figures do not change the fundamentals: the Government is set to break its promise to balance the books by 2015 and borrow a staggering £158 billion more than planned. This is extra borrowing to pay the bill for economic failure and a growing dole queue, rather than to help create jobs and support the economy through difficult times. It doesn’t make economic sense.
“By crushing confidence, pushing up unemployment to a 17 year high and choking off the recovery over a year ago, well before the recent eurozone crisis, the Government’s reckless decision to raise taxes and cut spending further and faster has completely backfired. As Moody’s has now warned, the British economy is now in a weaker position which leaves us more vulnerable if the eurozone crisis continues to go unresolved in the new year.
“If we’re to get the deficit down we need tough decisions on tax and spending but it’s also vital that we get our economy moving and get Britain back to work. Labour’s five point plan for jobs, which includes tax breaks for small businesses taking on extra workers, would help to kick-start our flatlining economy and so help get the deficit down too.
“But David Cameron and George Osborne are so out of touch they don’t understand the jobs and growth crisis facing our country and that putting hundreds of thousands more people on the dole just makes it harder to get the deficit down. It’s time they listened to Labour and the IMF, change course and get a real plan for jobs and growth that will get the deficit down in a fairer, better way.”