Chancellor thumbs nose at Labour as economy turns corner

The Chancellor has argued his economic strategy has worked

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 19 Nov 2013
Chancellor George Osborne has claimed victory over Labour and proponents of ‘Plan B’ this morning, saying the economy has ‘turned a corner.’ No doubt relishing the moment, Osborne said there were ‘tentative signs of a balanced, broad based and sustainable recovery’ and argued Labour had lost the economic argument.
 
Always erring on the site of caution though, the Chancellor warned it was ‘early stages’ and there are still ‘plenty of risks.’
 
‘The economic collapse was even worse than we thought. Repairing it will take even longer than we hoped,’ said Osborne.
 
‘But we held our nerve when many told us to abandon our plan. And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner. Of course, many risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we mustn't go back to square one. We mustn't lose what the British people have achieved.’
 
(Read as: ‘Don’t dare vote anyone else into power.’)
 
The speech follows a raft of good results for the British economy, with positive data pouring in from the services, manufacturing and retail sectors. GDP figures have beaten predictions and the OECD sharply increased its growth forecast for 2013 to 1.5% from 0.8%.
 
Somewhat conveniently, the speech comes ahead of the Conservative Party conference at the end of the month. Expect plenty of patriotic chest pumping and ‘we were right’ blustering.
 
Ed Miliband is expected to follow a ‘recovery for some’ line of retort and there are a number of results to back him up. Businesses and industry might be bouncing back, but ordinary people are still struggling with high inflation and no real wage rises. The TUC secretary general Frances O’Grady has accused government this morning of a ‘war on working people.’
 
The CBI was quick to jump in and remind everyone that businesses still needed help in accessing finance too.
 
‘The economy is gathering some momentum and with business confidence on the up, supported by greater interest rate certainty, we expect growth to continue into next year,’ said John Cridland, CBI Director-General.
 
‘But to deliver a sustainable recovery we need stronger levels of business investment and trade to rebalance the economy, so we must get behind smaller firms who are ambitious to export.’
 
But we doubt any dissenting voices will have any effect on Osborne’s smugness this morning. Everyone loves an ‘I told you so.’

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