We need leadership and a plan for growth – my Sunday Mirror article

It’s been a stormy week. In Britain, America and Europe, we’re seeing the same pattern.

Businesses have stopped investing. Governments are making deep cuts to services. Families are feeling the pinch from rising prices and taxes.

When businesses, government and consumers all stop spending at the same time, economies stall and unemployment stays high. That’s when a vicious circle starts. Slow growth makes it harder to get deficits down and investors lose confidence.

In Britain we should have secured last year’s recovery. But George ­Osborne’s policies have now kicked in ­– abolishing jobs programmes, raising VAT, destroying confidence – and our economy has flat-lined.

No wonder the FTSE was just as badly hit in ­recent days as markets in New York and Europe.

Credit rating agencies – which backed Lehman Brothers before it ­collapsed – are desperate not to be caught out again and have reacted with concern to the disagreements in the US Congress. So we need political leaders across the world to show leadership and deliver credible ­economic plans.

But our PM, Chancellor and their deputies are nowhere to be seen: the four top people in No 10 and the Treasury are all on holiday at the same time.

But it’s a lack of leadership over the last year that has done the damage, not just the last week. In ­previous times of crisis the British Chancellor would be at the head of the table co-ordinating the global response, but for months Mr Osborne has been ­absent from the debate about how to get the world economy growing.

Instead, our complacent Chancellor tells us not to worry because Britain is a “safe haven” from the economic storm.  The ­reality is we are in the eye of the storm. Because by trying to go too far and too fast to bring down the deficit, Mr Osborne choked off last year’s ­recovery. His reckless plan was like ripping up the foundations of the house just before the hurricane hits.

To get the deficit down we need a plan for growth – a bank bonus tax to get young people into work and a temporary VAT cut to give families a boost.

Struggling families and businesses have had enough of complacency. We need leadership and action now.

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Posted August 7th, 2011 by Ed