Osborne: Labour and Ukip will drag UK into decline

Kate McCann
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THE CHANCELLOR George Osborne will deliver a stinging attack on Labour and Ukip in a speech later today, warning of job losses, falling wages and price rises if the parties’ anti-business agendas are allowed to win out in 2015.

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry, Osborne is expected to take aim at Ed Miliband’s economic policy and call on UK businesses to join him in a bid to protect the UK’s status as a free-market economy.

“Political parties on the left and the populist right have this in common: they want to pull up the drawbridge and shut Britain off from the world,” Osborne is expected to say.

“We now see a deeply pessimistic, depressing, anti-business agenda ... It takes advantage of the understandable anxieties of a population unsettled by the pace of globalisation, and peddles a myth that Britain can stop the world and get off,” he will add, warning that controls on prices and incomes would send the country down a path of “economic decline”.

The chancellor is set to pose a direct challenge to Miliband over his pledge to step in and freeze energy bills, the cornerstone of the party’s stall to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Osborne will warn that controlling markets and imposing rent controls will lead to job losses, falling wages and rising prices – hitting the poorest in the country disproportionately.

“The people who will suffer will be those who always suffer when economic policy fails – not the richest, who will find ways to protect themselves, but the poorest,” Osborne will say, adding in reference to Labour and Ukip: “Britain is on the rise again so let the British people say to them both: you will not drag us down. The forces of optimism will succeed.”