Ed Balls MP, the shadow chancellor, said in advance of Tuesday’s figures for UK economic growth in the third quarter of 2011:
“2011 should have been the year when we secured the recovery and saw strong growth in our economy. But Britain has not grown since last autumn – well before the eurozone crisis of recent months – and only Greece and Portugal have grown more slowly in the whole of the EU.
“Simply to stay on track for the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent forecast, already downgraded three times, we will need to see growth in the third quarter of 1.3 per cent. And to reach the OECD’s latest and more pessimistic forecast, we will need to see a figure next week of 0.9 per cent.
“The US economy has grown by a sluggish 1.6 per cent over the last 12 months, which is why President Obama is trying to get agreement for his jobs plan. In Britain, we have flatlined since last autumn, but this out of touch government still doesn’t have a plan for jobs and growth, like the five point plan Labour has set out.
“We need a plan B now because plan A for austerity is hurting but isn’t working. The government is set to borrow £46 billion more than they planned because trying to cut spending and raise taxes too far and too fast has choked off the recovery and pushed up unemployment. This extra borrowing to pay for the costs of failure will rise even further unless we start seeing strong growth and falling unemployment soon."