Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Labour cannot be 'trusted' on economy again - Osborne

Shadow chancellor George Osborne: "Never trust Labour with your money again"

Labour should "never be trusted" with people's money again, shadow chancellor George Osborne has said, describing the pre-Budget report as a "catastrophe".

Every family in the UK would be "paying the price" for Labour's mistakes, he said, claiming anyone earning more than £20,000 would pay more tax as a result.

Labour pledges on spending and deficit cutting were not "credible", he added.

In contrast, he said the Tories would take action to reduce the deficit while protecting the poorest in society.

'Pre-election budget'

In his pre-Budget report, Mr Darling announced a range of tax increases, including a 0.5% increase in National Insurance contributions and a one-off tax on bank bonuses.

But he also raised forecasts for the amount ministers will borrow in 2009 and 2010.

No-one will believe a word they say on the economy again
George Osborne

Mr Osborne told MPs that Mr Darling's speech failed on all counts, attacking the chancellor's forecasts for economic growth and borrowing as flawed and saying Labour had lost the "moral authority" to govern.

"We were promised a pre-Budget report and we got a pre-election one," he said. "No-one will believe a word they say on the economy again."

Mr Osborne said the government was planning to borrow nearly £800bn over the next six years, describing the figure as "criminal" and saying the UK was turning into the "sick man of Europe".

He said Labour's plans to rein in the deficit and reduce spending were simply not "credible".

On bank bonuses, he said the proposed tax should not be considered a "triumph" as the government should have prevented the bonuses being paid in the first place.

He said the "real test" of the tax would be whether it boosted the amount banks lent to companies.

Mr Darling said the Tories had nothing to offer about how to return the economy to growth and reduce borrowing while protecting frontline services.

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