Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Economy is 'stuck' under Brown, says Cameron

Budget of 'debt, waste and taxes'

Tory leader David Cameron has said the economy is "stuck" under Labour and an election is needed so a Conservative government can "clean up the mess".

In his response to the Budget, Mr Cameron said the government had stolen Tory policies on stamp duty and higher tax on strong cider.

He said the "only new ideas in British politics" were coming from the Tories.

Urging an election, he said the "biggest risk to the recovery is five more years of this prime minister".

Mr Cameron told MPs: "This prime minister is going around telling everyone 'stick with me, stick with what you know'. But that is the whole problem, this country is stuck with him, our economy is stuck, business is stuck, nothing is moving."

Stamp duty 'copied'

Speaking after Chancellor Alistair Darling had delivered his Budget speech, the last before a general election widely expected to be called for 6 May, Mr Cameron said the government had repeatedly over-estimated growth figures and asked why anybody should believe them.

Referring to a stamp duty cut on homes under £250,000 for first-time buyers - which is similar to Tory plans - Mr Cameron asked: "Where on earth did they get that one from?

"He came in as chancellor copying our inheritance tax cut, he leaves as chancellor copying our stamp duty cut."

The risk to recovery is not in dealing with the deficit now, it's in not dealing with the deficit now
David Cameron

The two parties have clashed over when to start cutting public spending - the Conservatives say it should start this year but the government argues that would risk "snuffing out" the economic recovery.

Mr Cameron said a credible economic plan needed "action now and all we got was delay": "The risk to recovery is not in dealing with the deficit now, it's in not dealing with the deficit now.

"Every family knows that when your debts mount up you need to start paying them off or things only get worse and it's time for the government to learn the same lessons."

'Should be ashamed'

He said "honesty" was needed but instead they were given "double dealing" - as debt figures were based on growth forecasts that the government had previously got wrong.

He said the government faced "a choice between bold action in an election year and just playing politics, and once again they chose politics".

He said Mr Darling could have summed up his hour-long speech in one sentence: "Labour have made a complete mess of the British economy and they are doing nothing to clean it up."

He said ministers "should be ashamed" and had given Britain "the deepest recession since the war".

He dismissed Mr Darling's "boasts" that the government had taken the right action to help people through the recession, Mr Cameron said: "We were the first into recession and the last out of recession.

"More businesses went bust in this recession than any other and more people went bankrupt under Labour than ever before in our history.

"We have gone from the top of the premier league to the bottom of the conference in 13 wasted years and I say it's time to sack the manager," Mr Cameron added.

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