Brown aide: Labour needs growth plan

ONE OF Gordon Brown’s top economic advisers has called on Labour to present an alternative to the government’s plan to cut the deficit through spending cuts instead of “carping” .

Writing in City A.M., Dan Corry, who was a member of Brown’s Downing Street policy unit, said it was “very easy to fall into the trap of having a gleeful grin not when unemployment falls but when it rises”.

Corry’s comments came as the Bank of England lowered its growth forecasts yesterday. It now predicts growth of about 1.7 per cent in the four quarters to the end of this year, down from its February forecast of two per cent.

Growth in the year ending 2012 will now be around 2.5 per cent, the Bank expects, lower than its previous estimate of closer to three per cent.

Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor, seized on the downgrade as proof the planned spending cuts “will make it harder to get the deficit down”.

But Corry, now at FTI Consulting, said: “Balls has to do more than carp, more than critique. While it may be right to point out that... this recovery is going to be much less strong than those in the 80s and 90s, that will not convince voters that Labour could have done better or would do better in the future.”

“Balls and [Ed] Miliband will only get Labour ready as a potential party of government again if they spend time developing and articulating what Labour’s economic strategy for growth is, and why it can work.”