الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

PM to attack Labour's economy 'gamble'

David CameronMr Cameron will attack Labour over their economic plans in a speech later

Prime Minister David Cameron will claim in a speech later that Labour’s economic plans would amount to a “massive gamble with our future”.

He will say Ed Miliband’s party would never clear the overall budget deficit – leading to more borrowing and debt.

It comes as Lib Dem minister Vince Cable says the Conservatives’ plan for cuts would be “devastating”.

Labour says the government’s deficit plans are “in tatters” and it has had to borrow billions more than planned.

Mr Cameron will make a speech on the economy and housing on Monday, in which he will reveal further details of a scheme offering 100,000 first-time buyers the chance to buy a newly built home with a 20% discount.

The government says changes to the planning system will allow them to free up some “brownfield” sites from planning costs, allowing the homes built there to be sold more cheaply.

‘Hugely risky’

Mr Cameron will also turn his fire on Labour, saying the previous government failed to put money aside “for a rainy day” – leaving Britain exposed when the credit crunch happened.

The Prime Minister will defend his chancellor George Osborne against charges that he is being “ideological” in his plans to cut the deficit by reducing future spending.

Mr Cameron will say that is “sensible and reasonable” to prepare for any future crash, while Labour’s plan would leave the UK in a “hugely risky position”.

Last week, Labour leader Ed Miliband promised that if his party won the next election, public sector debt as a share of national income would be falling by 2020 and that, by that date, the government would no longer be borrowing to finance current spending – day-to-day expenses such as civil service salaries and welfare payments.

But Mr Cameron will say that this would not include capital spending, such as investment in infrastructure.

And he will add: “So Ed Miliband is saying he will only balance part of the government’s budget – not the whole thing like we plan. And let’s be clear what that means.

“Ed Miliband would never clear the overall, headline budget deficit. He would run a budget deficit – permanently adding to debt – indefinitely. Every year. Forever. “

‘Essential test’

He will claim that Labour’s plans could add almost £500bn to the national debt over 21 years: “That is a great, black, ominous cloud on the horizon – and if a real economic storm hit again, the fall-out would be felt by families up and down this country.”

He said the Conservatives would “fix the roof when the sun is shining” while the alternative was “taking a massive gamble with our future”.

Last week, Mr Miliband addressed the issue of the deficit in a speech and said dealing with the public finances would be an “essential test” of Labour’s credibility.

He argued boosting wages and taxing the better off, in addition to budget cuts in most areas, could contribute to eliminating the deficit by 2020. And he said a Labour government would cut the deficit every year of the next parliament.

He said that none of Labour’s pre-election spending commitments would be funded by extra borrowing, and accused the Conservatives of making £7bn worth of unfunded tax cuts.

The chancellor’s plans are based on achieving a surplus in the public finances by 2018-9. He has said he believes this can be done without any tax rises and has rejected suggestions it will entail “colossal” cuts to public expenditure.

But on Sunday, his Liberal Democrat cabinet colleague, Business Secretary Vince Cable, told the BBC he would “really worry” if George Osborne’s plans were realised as they would “destroy public services in the way that we know them”.

In last week’s Autumn Statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility raised its borrowing forecast for the current financial year from £86.6bn to £91.3bn but said this would still be below last year’s total of £97.5bn.

Borrowing levels are forecast to fall every year until 2018-9, although Labour say the government has long abandoned its original 2010 target of eliminating the deficit by the time of next year’s election.

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