Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 13:09 UK
Live: Prime minister's questions

William Hague on rising debt, unemployment and inflation

William Hague has attacked Gordon Brown for his "hubris" and "irresponsibility" in talking of an end to boom and bust in the British economy.

Deputising for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions, he criticised Labour's economic record since 1997.

Rising inflation, unemployment and debt levels demonstrated Labour's failure to bring economic stability, he said.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the economy was made of "stern stuff" and should not be "talked down".

'Foolish claim'

Standing in for Gordon Brown, who is attending a summit of European leaders in Brussels, Ms Harman faced Tory criticism that Labour was to blame for the UK's worsening economic situation.

Turning his fire on the absent prime minister, Mr Hague said families were facing sharply rising prices, a vastly increased tax burden and growing job insecurity.

The current financial crisis proved that Mr Brown's past assertions that economic instability were a thing of the past were worthless.

"The claim to have abolished boom and bust was one of the most foolish, hubristic and irresponsible claims by a British prime minister," Mr Hague said.

Ms Harman said the government was "concerned" about the rising unemployment rate and acknowledged the country was facing "serious" economic challenges.

But she said a new 100m scheme to help people losing their jobs get back into work showed the government's commitment to help people through the current troubles.

"He should not write Britain off or compare us unfavourably with other countries," she told Mr Hague.


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