Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Ed Balls MP, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, in response to economic growth figures for EU countries published today, said:

"These figures show that only Greece, Portugal and Cyprus have grown more slowly than Britain over the last year. And the eurozone has grown by 1.4 per cent over the last year compared to just 0.5 per cent here.

"Of course the slowdown in other EU countries in recent months is very concerning. But instead of wrongly blaming events abroad for his own mistakes at home, David Cameron needs to realise that our economy has flatlined for more than a year – well before the recent eurozone crisis.

“We repeatedly warned that cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast risked choking off the recovery and would be like ripping out the foundations of your own house as a storm was brewing. The Government thought they knew better, but their reckless policies over the last year have now left us in a much weaker position. Slow growth plus more people out of work means government borrowing is set to be £46 billion higher than planned.

"Before things get any worse for struggling families, pensioners and businesses here in Britain, we need to see a change of course in the Chancellor's autumn statement. Instead of excuses we need urgent action to get our economy moving again and so get our deficit down, like Labour’s five point plan for jobs.

"And we also need real leadership to deal with the eurozone crisis, including political backing for the European Central Bank to act as lender of last resort, and a real plan for jobs and growth across Europe. That is the way to stop this crisis getting worse, but it should not be an excuse for complacency and inaction at home from this increasingly out of touch Government."

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