Osborne: News vindicates cuts

GEORGE Osborne yesterday hailed a “double dose of good news” as proof his austerity cuts will underpin confidence in the British company.

The chancellor’s comments came after the latest GDP figures showed the British economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, much faster than economists predicted.

Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s revised its outlook for the UK economy to stable from negative, citing Osborne’s spending cuts as the main reason for its decision. It also reaffirmed Britain’s coveted AAA rating for sovereign debt.

Osborne said both pieces of news were “a vote of confidence in the government’s economic policies” and said Britain now had “the confidence to look to the future with some optimism.

The chancellor also dismissed talk of a double-dip recession. “I think what you see today, in an uncertain global economic environment, is Britain growing, growing strongly – the strongest growth we’ve seen in this part of the year for a decade,” he said.

And Osborne said the electorate understood that Britain’s deficit needed to be urgently dealt with, despite polls showing the public thinks the government is going too fast with spending cuts.

The GDP figures and statement from Standard & Poor’s put the Labour party on the back foot. It argues that the economy is too weak to withstand Osborne’s austerity measures, but strong growth numbers blunt that line of attack.

“There’s no sign yet in the private sector of the kind of momentum we need to create jobs to replace the million or so that will be lost as a result of the cuts,” said shadow chancellor Alan Johnson.