Angela Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to this afternoon's statement from Matthew Hancock MP, said:
“Conservative Party HQ just don’t get it. The statement this afternoon from Matthew Hancock shows that the Tories are still in denial. They haven’t realised that they’re the ones now in government and their reckless plan is not working.
“The question people in Britain want an answer to is when is George Osborne going to get his head out of the sand, rethink his reckless plan to cut too far and too fast and get himself a plan B?
“Our position is that if Labour were still in government we would be halving the deficit over four years, rather than the risky plan to cut too far and too fast. We set out the tough decisions needed to get the economy moving and reduce the deficit. And when we left office the action we took meant that the economy was starting to grow strongly, unemployment was falling and as a result the deficit last year actually came in over £20 billion lower than forecast.
“But as Ed Balls said today the context has changed. Over the last eight months the new Tory-led government has taken a different course. With unemployment and inflation both rising, growth stalling and consumer confidence falling it’s increasingly clear that they have made the wrong choices.
“The government now has a choice about whether to take another £20 billion out of the economy this year on top of the VAT rise. George Osborne needs to change course and he needs to do it quick.”