Osborne under attack as UK recession deepens
Chancellor George Osborne is not having a good week. He has been fielding attacks from business and industry, the unions and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls while suffering murmurs of dissent from within the coalition.
Yesterday the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that the UK is in its longest recorded double-dip recession. They reported a 0.7% reduction in GDP in the second quarter of this year.
Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, said of the news: “If these figures don’t make the Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Cameron wake up and realise they need to change course, I don’t know what will.
“We’ve had so many excuses over the last couple of years; the royal wedding, the snow, the rain, the sunshine. All these different things don’t change the fundamental reality. We are now in a double dip recession. It’s deepening, it’s bigger than other countries, our borrowing is going up not down.”
George Osborne admitted: “Yes the GDP numbers are disappointing.” However, he went on to say: “We’re dealing with our debts at home and the debt crisis abroad. We’ve made progress over the last two years in cutting the deficit by 25% and businesses have created over 800,000 new jobs.”
The TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, was critical of Osborne’s policy saying: “The Government’s austerity strategy is failing so spectacularly that is has wiped out the recovery completely. The economy is now smaller than when the government took office two years ago. The recent GDP fall is as bad as anything we saw following the 2008 financial crash.
“The Government must abandon self-defeating austerity and prioritise public and private investment in infrastructure and in the futures of our long-term unemployed to get Britain working again.”
Lib Dem politician Lord Oakeshott, was more personal when he told BBC news: “George Osborne has got no business experience. He is doing surprisingly well for a chancellor on work experience. But at a torrid time like this, I think we do need absolutely the best people available.”
Although Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the Institute of Directors, was supportive of the Chancellor’s austerity measures, she wasn’t entirely convinced, saying: “Today’s figures come as a severe blow to business. The Eurozone countries show that we absolutely cannot afford to waver from the deficit reduction programme, but there are several steps the Government must take to boost the economy.”