Angela Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to today’s inflation and public sector finance figures, said:
“These are a very disappointing and worrying set of figures. People across the country are really facing the squeeze from rising prices, which has been made worse by the Tory VAT rise. And they’ll be hit hard next month by cuts to tax credits and a child benefit freeze.
“George Osborne is putting the Bank of England in an impossible position. It has been left to do all the work to support a halting recovery, while the Tory-led government pursues a fiscal policy to cut deeper and faster than any other major economy in the world and pushes up inflation too with its VAT rise.”
On petrol prices, Angela Eagle added:
"With petrol prices today hitting a new record high of 140p for a litre of diesel George Osborne needs to take immediate action. Simply cancelling or postponing the annual duty rise next month, as Labour regularly did in government when oil prices were rising, will not be enough. George Osborne needs to admit he got it wrong in January and reverse the Tory VAT rise on petrol, which is adding £1.35 to the cost of filling up a 50 litre tank of fuel.”
On public sector finance figures showing borrowing last month was higher than in February 2010, Angela Eagle added:
“One month’s figures should always be treated with caution. But the news that borrowing was higher last month than a year ago underlines what we have been warning for months. It’s harder to get the deficit down if cuts which go too far and too fast cause confidence to fall, unemployment to rise again and growth to slow right down. It’s time George Osborne understood that.”