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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
In full: Osborne pre-Budget speech
Here is the full text of shadow chancellor George Osborne's response to the 2007 pre-Budget report and Comprehehenive Spending Review:

Mr Speaker, I don't know why he bothered to turn up.

He should have called that election and let us give the Budget.

Instead has delivered a pre-election Budget without an election.

We all know this Report was brought forward so it could be the starting gun for the campaign - before the Prime Minister took the pistol and fired it at his foot.

Let's deal straight away with the announcements on aviation taxation, non-doms and on inheritance tax.

For ten years the Prime Minister has been sucking millions of aspiring families into the inheritance tax net.

For ten years the Prime Minister has been pulling first time buyers into stamp duty.

For ten years the Prime Minister could have reformed Air Passenger Duty.

For ten years he did nothing on non doms.

Now, a week after we put forward our plans, the Prime Minister and Chancellor scramble around in a panic trying to come up with something.

He talks about setting out his vision of the country - but he has to wait for us to tell him what it is.

That is not leadership of the country.

It is followership, Prime Minister.

It's not strong, Prime Minister.

It's weak.

He has learnt nothing from recent events.

The public will see today's measures as a desperate, cynical stunt from a desperate and weak Prime Minister.

The public can tell the difference between a Labour Party that sees this all as a cynical, calculating game and a Conservative Party that believes in lower taxes and aspiration.

He attacked my non-dom policy, and then announces he is going to consult on it.

From this day on let there be no doubt about who is winning the battle of ideas in Britain.

And I say this to the Prime Minister: if he wants to debate our policies - if he wants to challenge the independent experts who support our costings - then he should have the courage to call that general election.

But he won't.

This Prime Minister's name may appear on the cover of books about courage - but it's never likely to appear in the index.

These cynical stunts should not detract us from the fact that today was the day when the economic chickens come home to roost.

Britain needs a government that prepares us for the new economic revolution by freeing our economy, reforming public services and putting us on that path to lower taxes.

Instead we got a speech that boils down to this: Growth is down.

Borrowing is up.

The spending rate is down.

And overall taxes are likely to go up.

What a mess after ten years in office.

The real charge against this Prime Minister is not so much that he got his growth forecasts for next year wrong - although he did.

The real charge against this Prime Minister is that, first he should have prepared the public finances for a slowdown in the economy and he didn't.

And second he should have prepared the public services for a slowdown in spending and he hasn't done that either.

That is the opposite of what a sensible, prudent Government should do.

Take the public finances.

After fifteen years of global growth, we should be running a surplus in this country.

Instead we are entering what the Chancellor himself admits are difficult times with government borrowing out of control.

The Prime Minister told us in last year's Budget that 2007 was the year when the finances would move into the black.

Then in this year's Budget he told us that was wrong, but at least borrowing would be falling.

Today the Chancellor has admitted instead that borrowing is going up.

Again.

Total borrowing this year is now expected to be 4 billion higher then last forecast.

We waiting for the moment when, like his predecessor, he would rattle through the borrowing numbers in the following years, but he missed them out entirely.

Talk about burying bad news.

And the annual deficit will be 4billion higher too.

I don't think he's in a position to attack the accuracy of anyone else's figures today.

The real tragedy is that government borrowed in a boom when it should have saved - and now there is nothing left to prepare Britain for the rainy days that may lie ahead.

And while we are on things he didn't tell us.

Why didn't he tell us, as shown on p146, that the savings ratio has fallen from 5.5% to 3.5% - the lowest on record?

Or that growth of disposable income for millions of families has fallen again from 2.5% to 1.5%?

Why did he hide these figures? He should be blaming his predecessor not copying him.

So he hasn't prepared us for the economic slowdown - and he hasn't prepared us for the spending slow down.

The growth rate of spending has been cut in half.

The Chancellor has been forced to share the proceeds of growth.

It's another example of us setting the agenda.

Why can't the Chancellor be honest with people about what this means - instead of trying to spin the figures? The Building Schools for the Future programme is in such a mess that just 14 of the 100 schools that were supposed to open this year will actually do so.

And the billion pounds spent on tackling truancy has led to a 45% rise in truants.

The question people are asking is simple: where has all the money gone?

Where has all the money gone in health? Why doesn't he be honest with the public about what this health settlement means.

The growth of health spending is set to almost halve over the next three years.

So a health service that is already seeing: - maternity wards closing - A&E wings shutting - and staggered pay awards for nurses is now going to have to make do with a much slower rate of spending growth.

They would be able to cope better if the recent spending boom had been matched by reform.

Now, I know the Prime Minister has found himself a new health guru - Lord Darzi.

Remember, he's the one whose report last week sank without trace last week.

But he should listen to what his last health guru is now saying: Derek Wanless.

The productivity gains that were hoped for have not been achieved, he says.

A lot of money has been wasted, he says.

And the result is that when Derek Wanless compared our health care with other similar countries, he found Britain still lagging on crucial outcomes like life expectancy, infant mortality, cancer survival and health inequality.

The Health Secretary puts it in his own more technical way: "We've put a lot of money in, but that hasn't led to a lot of happy bunnies" Even with today's spending slowdown, this Report confirms that the tax burden is now set to reach a record high.

This is at a time when all our global competitors are trying to reduce their taxes.

Why didn't he tell us that this is a tax raising Pre Budget Report? I see that by 2010 there will be a 1.4 billion rise in taxes that he has just announced there at that despatch box.

Or the private equity loopholes he's closing were opened by the man sitting next to him.

Mr Speaker, This Pre-Budget Report should have prepared our country for the new economic revolution.

Instead we got over-spun claims, desperate stunts and fake figures.

Fake figures from a government that has given us fake photos, fake troop withdrawals, fake hospital openings all led by a Prime Minister who is increasingly seen as a fake.

When the Chancellor gets up, why doesn't he spare us the Brownite nonsense - save it for the election campaign.

Instead, give us these straight answers to these straight questions: Can he confirm that the Prime Minister got the growth and borrowing forecasts wrong? Can he confirm that the growth rate of health and education spending will be cut by almost half?

Can he confirm that this Report raises taxes overall? And can he confirm, just out of curiosity, that he had no plans in this PBR to reform inheritance tax until we made our announcement and he looked at his polls? We know the Prime Minister can't give straight answers to straight questions.

Let's see if his Chancellor can do any better.

Let's see if he can begin to restore trust in this weak and cynical Government.




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