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Darling: "How much longer will Osborne lumber on?"

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Darling: "How much longer will Osborne lumber on?"

Post  Panda on Sun 21 Apr - 15:51

Darling: 'How Long Will Osborne Lumber On?'

The former Chancellor says more and more respected people
are calling for the current resident of Number 11 to change direction.

3:42pm UK,
Sunday 21 April 2013

Video: Alistair Darling Attacks
Osborne's Handling Of Economy

The outstanding question in British politics is how long the
Government will "lumber on" with failing economic policies, according to
Alistair Darling.

The former Labour Chancellor said his party was right to sit and wait to see
what George Osborne's strategy actually becomes.

He told Sky News' Murnaghan programme Mr Osborne had lost credibility and
insisted Labour would be "very wise" to "wait and see what he actually comes up

Mr Darling highlighted the latest ratings downgrade, the IMF's comments and
the Treasury Select Committee's criticism of housing policy as three major blows
to the current Chancellor's policies this week alone.

He said: "What you saw last week were more and more people saying (Mr
Osborne's) policy isn't working.

"I've been saying that for the last three years, and it was pretty
unfashionable to do so, but what you're now seeing are respected figures inside
and outside the UK calling into question the strategy.

"The big question is how long does the present Government simply lumber on
simply hoping something will turn up.

"I don't think my Labour colleagues need to take a position (on spending)
until we see what the present Government is proposing - we don't actually know
what they are doing.

"It's very difficult to plan ahead in any sort of sensible way. I think what
we are better doing at the moment is concentrating our fire on the

Mr Darling, who came under fire from his own side while Chancellor for
predicting in 2008 this would be the worst downturn in 60 years, said Mr
Osborne's plans had always been "fraught with difficulty" and now been "blown
completely off course".

"It is manifestly obvious it is simply not working," Mr Darling added.

His comments came as it emerged that Britain is expected to narrowly dodge a
triple-dip recession, although experts continue to label the UK a "crisis

Most analysts are predicting gross domestic product (GDP) to have edged up
0.1% in the first three months of the year, which would mean the economy has
avoided returning to recession.

The latest figures will be released on Thursday.

Incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney added to fears last week by
branding the UK a "crisis economy" alongside stricken eurozone countries and

His brutal assessment, made on the fringes of the International Monetary
Fund's Washington meeting, came as IMF chief Christine Lagarde also voiced
concerns over the UK economy, saying its growth numbers were "not particularly

Just days earlier the IMF cut UK growth forecasts from 1% to 0.7% for 2013
and 2014's projection from 1.9% to 1.5% as it said the private sector was being
hampered by a lack of credit and economic uncertainty.

Also on Friday, ratings agency Fitch cut the UK's creditworthiness from the
top AAA rating to AA+.

David Riley, managing director of Fitch, told the Murnaghan show Britain's
"economic recovery has been very weak, almost non-existent".

He said: "It's not just about the austerity, the bottom line is the private
sector borrowed too much in the UK, it's been very hard to rebalance the UK

Mark Field, Tory MP for the City of London, told the show: "The big test
isn't so much what the IMF say but what the markets say. The one lesson is that
we have kept our interest rates very low."

A Downing Street a spokesman said: "Clearly from the Prime Minister's
perspective these are very, very tough times.

"We are having to deal with the biggest peace-time deficit ... but the path
that we are taking is the right one."
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