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David Hanson MP, Labour's Shadow Treasury Minister, said in response to an interview by Robert Chote, Head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, in tomorrow's Independent:

"The head of the Government's independent budget watchdog has now admitted what our complacent and out of touch Chancellor refuses to acknowledge.

"It's now increasingly likely that the government will miss its growth forecasts for 2011, which is bad news for families and businesses and will put the Government's borrowing targets this year at serious risk.

"George Osborne must now recognise that his tax rises and spending cuts which go too far and too fast have choked off last year's recovery. He has left us in a weak position if things now go wrong in the eurozone and America.

"We need a more balanced deficit plan that puts jobs and growth first, alongside tough decisions on tax and spending cuts. As the IMF and NIESR have warned this week, continued slow growth should lead to a change of course, such as the temporary VAT cut Labour has been calling for to kick-start the stalled recovery. The government should also repeat the bank bonus tax and use the funds raised to build thousands of affordable homes and get young people off the dole and into work."

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