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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 18:53 GMT
Lib Dem Taylor's response
Matthew Taylor
Here is an edited version of Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Matthew Taylor's response to the chancellor's pre-Budget report.

At least, unlike the Conservatives, the chancellor has some idea of how much he wants to spend.

The fact is, today the chancellor has announced borrowing of over 100 billion in just 5 years - double the level planned in the budget.


Gordon Brown now dodges responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

The chancellor is running out of money and running out of ideas. He used to claim credit for everything that went right, and now dodges responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Borrowing to cover a short-term problem is one thing, the right response to a temporary setback.

But his budget will go bust in the long term, unless he tackles the collapse in British Industry, and his reliance on the boom in household debt.

Investment falling

Does he recognise that UK business investment has crashed faster than the US, France, Italy, japan and now even Germany - faster than at any time since records began? That's not the world's problem.

Does he know our share of inward investment into Europe has collapsed from 28% to 16% in just 4 years? That's not the world's problem.

Is he proud of the deepest manufacturing recession since 1981, the longest since 1945? 500,000 British jobs lost in manufacturing under Labour, when manufacturing jobs have gone up in Europe and the US? That's not the world's problem either.

Isn't it true that record household debt is the only reason UK growth has held up - does he agree with the Bank of England that rising debt and a house price boom is not sustainable?

The chancellor has added again to his tax complications and red-tape, but has no new ideas to tackle the strength of the pound. Nothing to tackle collapsing investment.

'Unique to Britain'

And what exactly is his assessment of the additional risk from any war with Iraq? This is not just a world downturn - we have a scale of manufacturing recession unique to Britain. Meddling, red-tape the high pound and tax complication. Unlike the Conservatives we don't believe the solution is cutting hospitals and schools.

But the Chancellor needs to mend his ways. Stop passing the buck. He must cut red tape, simplify tax, and address the problem of the high pound.

If Britain can't earn its way, in the long-run his plans for hospitals and schools will fail too.


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 VOTE RESULTS
Has the chancellor managed the economy well?

Yes
 52.21% 

No
 47.79% 

6639 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

26 Nov 02 | Science/Nature
27 Nov 02 | Business
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