Owen Smith MP, Labour's Shadow Treasury Minister, said in response to today's inflation figures:
"Britain now has the highest inflation of any EU country and it's time Ministers took responsibility. We need action now to help hard-pressed families and pensioners who have been hit hard by the Tory VAT rise and this out of touch Government’s failure to act on soaring energy prices.
"A temporary cut in VAT, part of Labour’s five point plan for jobs, would ease the squeeze on families, boost our struggling high streets and help to kick-start our flatlining economy. It would cut petrol prices by 3p a litre and give a couple with children an average boost of £450 a year.
"Families and businesses know the Government's policies are hurting, but we're now starting to find out that they're not working either. Slow growth and higher unemployment mean the Government is set to borrow £158 billion more than planned. Extra borrowing not to support the economy through difficult times, but to pay the bill for the economic failure and growing dole queue that a reckless plan to cut spending and raise taxes too far and too fast has created.
“With unemployment already at a 17 year high today's Manpower report on job prospects is a real cause for concern. This Tory-led Government needs to listen to Labour and the IMF, change course and get a proper plan for jobs and growth that will get the deficit down in a fairer, better way. With the Government’s economic policies failing, Britain desperately needs a plan that works.”