My Sunday Mirror article on the autumn statement

Everyone knows how tough things are right now. Prices are rising faster than wages, our economy is flatlining, and long-term unemployment is soaring.

This failure means the Government isn’t even passing the one test they set themselves – reducing the deficit.

They are actually borrowing more so far this year than last. And it is people on low and middle incomes who are paying the price.

George Osborne’s failed policies will mean a difficult Christmas for families, but millionaires will raise a toast to the Chancellor to thank him for their New Year tax cut.

So he has a clear choice on Wednesday: he can plough on recklessly, or admit things aren’t working and change course. I want to see action in three areas.

First, a tough but balanced plan to create the jobs and growth that are vital to cut the deficit.

Let’s use funds from the 4G auction of mobile airwaves to build 100,000 affordable homes, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and cut stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Let’s tax bankers’ bonuses and use the cash to guarantee a job to every young person out of work for over a year – a job they’ll have to take or lose benefits.

Let’s boost confidence and spending power with a temporary tax cut for people on low and middle incomes. Cutting VAT would be the quickest way to do this, but any fair tax cut is better than nothing.

Second, we need reforms to strengthen our economy. That means a British Investment Bank to boost lending to small businesses and separating high street banks from casino-style investment banks.

Finally, we need fair action to help people with the rising cost of living.

January’s fuel duty rise should be cancelled  at least until April,  and the crazy plan to give a £3 billion tax cut to the highest earners  on the day taxes go up for millions of pensioners must be dropped.

People should always be better off in work than on benefits. But the government’s deep cuts to tax credits are doing the exact opposite. So the Chancellor should also reverse his pension tax relief boost for the very richest – and use that to restore some of the deep cuts to tax credits for working families.

We need a change of course from David Cameron and George Osborne. When the medicine makes the patient sicker, you don’t just take more of it. We need to change the medicine, or change the doctor.

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Posted December 2nd, 2012 by Ed

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