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George Osborne warns voters against being fooled by Labour's "five great deceptions" about the economy

George Osborne on Politics Show In advance of Wednesday's Budget, George Osborne has written an article in today's Sunday Telegraph to prebut five false claims he expects Labour to make about the economy. He suggests that Alistair Darling's Budget will be the "political equivalent of distraction burglary", where small new announcements will be trumpeted, whilst sweeping to one side the devastation which the Government has wrought over the economy.

Here's a summary of the claims he expects them to make with excerpts from his prebuttal.

Labour deception No. 1: Labour has a credible plan to deal with the public finances

"The definition of "credible" is that others believe it. They don't.  In the words of one credit rating agency, it is “frankly too slow”. Business organisations like the CBI and this week the European Commission all agree that we need to go faster to restore confidence in our economy.The Chancellor might be so brazen as to claim he has a "windfall" because it turns out he has to borrow a few billion pounds less than he forecast in the autumn.  It seems that borrowing £170 odd billion instead of £180 odd billion is what passes for good news in Gordon Brown's world. It is a staggering amount - the highest proportionately of any country in the G20."

Labour deception No. 2: Starting to reduce the deficit this year would threaten the recovery

"The biggest risk to our recovery would be to undermine a new Government’s credibility by delaying the difficult decisions for another year. As shown by the experience of Greece, a loss of confidence would lead to rising mortgage rates and higher unemployment, stopping the recovery in its tracks... That is why a new Conservative Government will make a start on cutting the deficit in the coming financial year, and we have already set out some of the immediate actions that we will take."

Labour deception No. 3: This Budget won't raise taxes

"Read the small print is my advice. There are £19 billion of Labour tax rises coming down the track and about to smash into the fragile recovery. Labour politicians only talk about the taxes on the better off, like the new 50p tax. But the single biggest tax rise they are planning is an increase in National Insurance - the tax employers pay on everyone’s job – and an increase in personal tax on everyone earning over £20,000... I am clear that by far the greatest burden of dealing with our deficit must fall on lower spending, not higher taxes. And of all Labour’s tax rises the one I would most like to avoid is the increase in National Insurance."

Labour deception No. 4: Labour has a set of clear spending plans

"They are deliberately hiding the truth from the public. Even Labour's own budget numbers show £31 billion of unexplained spending cuts. Gordon Brown ordered the Treasury not to prepare a spending review for this budget, but wait instead until after the election. It is extraordinarily cynical. In contrast, even from opposition we have already set out some of the difficult decisions that a Conservative Government is prepared to take, like reducing the size of Whitehall bureaucracy by a third and removing means tested benefits from households earning over £50,000."

Labour deception No. 5: Labour has a new industrial strategy to unveil

"Two thirds of all net job creation in the boom years was connected to public spending. Even today, after a year of Mandelsonian predictions to the contrary, exports are falling and manufacturing is contracting. Only the Conservatives have developed the plans for a new model of economic growth, where we move from an economy built on debt to one where we save and invest for the future."

Jonathan Isaby


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