Chancellor desperately tries to claim that Con-Dem economic plans are working
Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner poured scorn yesterday on Chancellor George Osborne’s bogus claim that Tory economic policies are working.
“Do not believe this man. He wouldn’t recognise the truth if it was sprayed on his eyeballs,” Mr Skinner declared angrily.
The TUC Congress in Bournemouth also scathingly rejected the economic policies of the coalition government, declaring that they had failed even by their own measures.
Mr Osborne made a gung-ho speech claiming that the British economy had turned the corner and “those in favour of a Plan B have lost the argument.”
Proponents of an alternative “cannot explain why the UK recovery has strengthened rapidly over the last six months,” proclaimed the moonshine Chancellor.
The evidence showed that the government’s “economic plan” was working, he insisted.
There were increasing tentative signs of a balanced, broad-based and sustainable recovery, although “we cannot take this for granted.”
Ominously, Mr Osborne also warned that “there are many tough decisions still to be taken.”
Mr Skinner said the only people enjoying a recovery were bankers, hedge fund managers and “all those in the higher echelons of society.”
Ordinary workers were much worse off, with wages badly eroded, benefits slashed and housebuilding at an all-time low.
“These people are not recovering,” protested Mr Skinner.
And he accused ministers of manipulating the unemployment figures to hide a real total of around four million.
Paisley Labour MP Jim Sheridan also weighed in against Mr Osborne, declaring: “Maybe the economy has improved for wealthy people in the City but the people I represent do not see any improvement.”
Labour shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie accused the Chancellor of launching “a desperate attempt to rewrite history.”
Party leader Ed Miliband is expected to launch an attack on Mr Osborne’s boastful speech when he addresses the TUC conference today.
Mr Miliband will point out that living standards have now fallen for longer than at any time since 1870.
The TUC Congress rejected government policies but also expressed alarm that the Labour leadership had committed a future government to apply the Con-Dem spending limits set for 2015-16.
A unanimously adopted congress motion pledged to “challenge the austerity consensus, no matter who implements it.”
It demanded an end to wage cuts, freezes, low pay and benefit reductions.
And it urged expansion of the economy through government-led investment programmes, rebuilding infrastructure and public services, plus a major programme of social and council house building.
Transport union TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said the motion “tells those who have repeatedly told us there is no alternative to austerity and no alternative to neoliberalism that they are wrong, wrong, wrong again.”
Communication Workers Union general secretary Billy Hayes pointed out: “In the past three years we’ve experienced not just stagnation but the downgrading of our AAA rating twice.
“The economy is still 3 per cent smaller than in 2008.” First-time Ucatt delegate Jim Gamble drew applause as he declared: “This reactionary right-wing government is intent on an all-out attack on working people.”
He added: “It’s down to the labour movement to challenge the right-wing theory of private good, public bad.”