Balls: economy in tatters after growth plans are proved a truly colossal failure

Elizabeth Fournier
SHADOW chancellor Ed Balls yesterday called George Osborne’s plans for the UK economy a “truly colossal failure”, and claimed the country will have to borrow £158bn more than the government planned a year ago.

Responding to the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Balls told a raucous House of Commons: “After 18 months in office the verdict is in: Plan A has failed and it has failed colossally.” He accused the government of hiking borrowing costs and contributing to rising unemployment, telling Osborne that his economic strategy was “in tatters” as the chancellor downgraded the UK’s growth forecasts.

“The chancellor’s out-of-touch and complacent hubris of a year ago now seems such a distant memory. The Prime Minister boasted that Britain was out of the danger zone and the chancellor claimed that the UK was a safe haven, but we know the truth: cutting too far and too fast has backfired and all his claims of a year ago have completely unravelled,” Balls said.

He also called for a more measured approach to reducing the deficit in the coming months, and urged the chancellor to withdraw the increase in VAT that was introduced at the start of 2011.

“The country either needs a new chancellor or a new plan ... The chancellor needs to change course and he needs to do so now,” Balls told parliament.