Osborne hits out at Labour protectionism

GEORGE Osborne and Ed Miliband fought over the best way to boost business in the UK last night, with the chancellor firmly rejecting the Labour leader’s calls for the government to become more involved with firms’ plans and development.

Miliband argued the government should be more “patriotic” in promoting British business, spending money in the UK to boost jobs even if better value for money could be gained by procurement abroad.

Osborne hit out at “politicians who flirt with protectionist rhetoric”, saying free trade is beneficial to everyone, and undermining free trade “risks doing huge damage to business and jobs and investment in Britain”.

Meanwhile immigration minister Damian Green was forced to defend his attempts to cut net immigration, claiming he still welcomes migrants with the “skills and talents that Britain needs”.

Osborne toned down the anti-immigration rhetoric, arguing “one of our country’s greatest advantages is our openness”.

However, there is still movement towards more government intervention in industry, with Vince Cable arguing in favour of state investment in research.