PMQs today: Jeremy Corbyn pressures David Cameron to admit the "fiscal rule is dead"

 
James Nickerson
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Members Of The New Coalition Cabinet Arrive For Their First Cabinet Meeting
Corbyn said the fiscal rule should be relaxed to allow for investment (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today asked David Cameron to admit the fiscal rule has been abandoned.

"Will [Cameron] now confirm that the chancellor's fiscal rule is dead?" Corbyn asked, after having grilled the Prime Minister on regional investment having fallen.

Corbyn asked if it was time to admit austerity was a failure and it was time to invest in infrastructure, jobs and growth, given the deficit will not be cut in the timescale that George Osborne had imposed upon himself.

Last week Osborne signalled he is ready to drop his target to balance the books by the end of the decade as he pointed to severe economic uncertainty in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

But Cameron said "what [Corbyn] says is simply not the case", adding that the rules "we set out always had flexibilities" in case growth didn't turn out as expected.

Read more: George Osborne ditches plans to run budget surplus

Corbyn also pointed to work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb and business secretary Sajid Javid, who he said "have seen the light" after agreeing that investment that Labour has advocated is necessary.

The Labour leader said investment should be made in the North, where it is needed.

"If the investment was going in the wrong places, we wouldn't see two and a half million more people in work," Cameron said.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Corbyn first questioned Cameron on why investment in infrastructure was so much higher in London than elsewhere in the country.

"In March, government investment was cut in order to meet its fiscal rule. How does the Prime Minister think the economy can be rebalanced if investment is cut, and what little investment remains, reinforces the regional imbalances in the economy?" Corbyn asked.

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