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Who would you trust to recover the economy?

17:59 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

The last growth figures to be published before the election show economic recovery remains fragile. Who would you trust to grow Britain's economy?

Figures show the UK grew 0.2% in the first three months of 2010 - less than had been expected.

Gordon Brown insists only Labour action has prevented the UK sliding back into recession and says his priorities were "jobs, jobs, jobs". Tory leader David Cameron warns the figures show the UK cannot afford the "paralysis" of a hung Parliament. But Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says "people, not markets" must come first.

Which leader is most convincing? What needs to be done to ensure the UK doesn't slide back into a recession? Do you have concerns over the economic future of Britain?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    I don't trust any of these three men. Brown is the most qualified in economics, which doesn't speak well for the rest of them.

    I would expect the smartest candidate not to make vague comments like these, but rather to admit the government needs professional advice from economists and other such experts in the matter.

  • Comment number 2.

    Somehow I've heard the "jobs jobs jobs" mantra before and that from the guy whose party has been in power for the last few governments. How much more time does he need? So no, not him.

    Hung parliament paralysis? Sorry, that's just politically infantile scaremongering, most democratic countries have worked very well with coalitions and minority goverments for a long time. So sorry, not believable.

    Leaves the Clegg fella. A new broom sweeps clean? Certainly can't be worse than the other two. And cheering Obama and the Russians cutting down on the arsenal while maintaining our own is two-faced. Cutting Trident is fine by me, so for for it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick Griffin.

  • Comment number 4.

    Actually no one. We are in such a mess that no one is prepared to really do what is needed. All politicians want to do is to please the electorate, who, by default, just want to go on as before. We waste so much in this country it is unbelievable and I am not talking the visible things. How much do we spend on unnecessary health treatment, policing, clearing up, social care, benefits etc. It is staggering. I reckon if people acted responsibly the debt would be cleared in a couple of years. But we live in the real world where people just don't care other than about themselves.

  • Comment number 5.

    Labour will keep on spending like there is no tomorrow because they don't care about tomorrow. The country is already bust and yet they carry on racking up the debts. But as they say - tomorrow never comes - but general elections do. Expect more lies.

  • Comment number 6.

    Today Gordon Brown warns that novices should not be trusted with steering the economic recovery. First he should remember those who -like he apparently - do not trust, should not themselves be trusted. Secondly has he forgotten that in 1997 he too was a novice and THE novice that bears some not inconsiderable responsibility for steering us into our current economic mess. After 13 years of mismanagement and broken promises as he and New labour represent, one might be forgiven for thinking just about anyone other than he could be trusted with the job. Mr. Brown would be well advised to stop his negativity and telling us how good he is, and instead campaign on his record though little more good might it serve him.

  • Comment number 7.

    Leaving aside the significance and inevitability of the undue influence his pheasant shooting chums will wield over him,Osbourne simply doesn't have the credentials. What he lacks in experience he also lacks in intellectual capacity and judgement.
    He's not there on merit. A swift glance at the stance he took in the aftermath of the meltdown,his opposition to saving Northern Rock, his contrary views in the context of G20 summit, his absurd bank share sell back initiative.......I mean the boy was stupid enough to take on Mandleson over the 'yachtgate' incident - speaks volumes for his(lack of) judgement.Can't have a chump like this as Chancellor.

    Like the way the Lib Dems are shaping up - seem to be the only party not afraid to mix it with the banks and I agree that there are large amounts of revenue to be gained from closing tax loopholes.

    Also think Darling is significantly more capable that the blue buffoon.

  • Comment number 8.

    Probably I would trust the conservatives the most. I have looked very carefully at all the manifestos. Labour have very detailed information in their 2010 budget from which you can see that by 2014-15 our debt will be 74.9% of GDP - a scarey amount. It is 63.6% in the current year. So we are continuing to borrow making the debt larger. I can see Brown's logic to some extent that by borrowing money to keep public sector jobs and services prevented the unemployment from being worse than it was and the welfare bill lower than it could have been. Brown and Cameron are both having to cut public spending and again the budget shows what cuts and how much so the difference between them is merely 9 months of when to cut. Cameron now and Brown in April 2011.

    Either way public sector jobs will go they have and it would be nice it the politicans could at least be honest. So to keep those jobs now is costing interest payments and increased debt.

    I have looked also a Nick Clegg's proposals and I cannot make them make sense. A local income tax next year instead of Council Tax, (remember Poll Tax) class sizes of 20 without more schools for the remaining pupils will be an extra cost. Then you have airline tax for the plane so that when you want to fly you will have to pay more. Lots of schemes, none of which actually seem to be costed. Getting rid of Trident to fund some cuts but then saying that they will have something else in its place so ultimately, no saving.

    So a little reluctantly, I have to say that probably Cameron will actually be the one who will get the job done. We all know the debt has to be paid back so lets get on with it. However, I am still listening to what all of them say.

    One last thing, it might be nice if Lloyds and RBS paid back their loans to the Government by buying back the shares at their increased value thereby giving the Government back some of the money invested in them.

  • Comment number 9.

    None of them inspire at present. They're too frightened to admit what a child could calculate, and of course everything depends on how long we can keep borrowing at an 'affordable' rate.

    On form, Gordon is damned by a long history of unproductive overspending, and is a proven deceiver- not just 100 non existent coaches in Madrid, remember the abolition of the 10p tax band that would make nobody worse off. Except those with the lowest incomes, but he forgot to say that. Incompetent or dishonest?

    Cleggie will rely on the saintly whatsisname, not as clever or as right as they believe.

    Dave needs to get his act together- we expect the tories to be the nasty party. Cut out the grey emollient stuff and do some straight talking. It really is no different from the household accounts- people aren't stupid.

  • Comment number 10.

    As it says on the US dollar bill, "In Gold we trust".

  • Comment number 11.

    A Lib-Lab pact.

    Brown got us into this mess; ironically, I think he is our best hope to get out of it in some semblence of order.

    The Tories will try to drastically reform public services, get too ambitious and screw the whole system up - much like Thatcher and look at the social legacy from that....plus, this time we don't have oil to soften the blow! The Libs have good ideas but are too inexperienced. A Lib-Lab arrangement will give the Libs experience and will give a higher probability of maintaining a society worth living in.

  • Comment number 12.

    The question nobody has so far asked is this, would you buy a used car from David Cameron? Vote according to your answer.

  • Comment number 13.

    The true extent of the economic can of worms is yet to be revealed. Gordo is obviously playing it down pre-election, Cam & Cleggy
    end up like the Chuckle Brothers.

  • Comment number 14.

    Since I pay 25% of all my earnings in tax
    and then another 6% in national insurance
    followed by 17.5% on just about everything I buy in vat
    Plus the fact that HMG wants to tax me £2,5000 for buying a house and should I die they'll take most of what I have left, I'd quite like to have crack at running the economy myself because I've never been in debt and only buy what I can afford and yet the government take almost 50% of all I earn to pay for foreign aid, immigrants, benefit cheats and hard up bankers! As to which party would run the economy the best, I'd say none of them because their all as bad as each other.
    Bring on the revolution

  • Comment number 15.

    At the moment these three look like the 3 blind mice and have as much idea as them. They should stop squabbling and think about this country which is in desparate need of a sensible leader.

  • Comment number 16.

    Jack wrote:
    "I don't trust any of these three men. Brown is the most qualified in economics, which doesn't speak well for the rest of them."

    Believe it or not, he isn't. Brown did a PhD at Oxford specialising in the history of his own political party. Followed by a spell as a college history lecturer. Although he may have read one or two books, he has no formal training in economics as such - and a cynic might say it shows.

  • Comment number 17.

    These figures are basically useless for assessing anything in the 2 weeks we've got before the election. The truth is there is a big margin of error on early estimates of GDP. It's just about possible the real number is still negative. It's equally possible that growth is a bit higher than last quarter, at around half a percent. That would be near the long term trend for our economy and despite the weather disruption would mean the economy is steaming ahead. We just don't know. These figures are better for making long term judgements over time and I'd suggest ignoring them completely when deciding how to vote.

  • Comment number 18.

    Definitely not Labour, even if they were successful. What's the point in having a good economy if your civil liberties are stripped away? I trust the Conservatives to run it better, but like Labour they want to treat the unemployed like criminals. The Lib Dems win by default!

  • Comment number 19.

    "Who would you trust to recover the economy?"

    The question assumes politicians control the economy. How quaint.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Who would I trust to recover the economy?

    Someone who hasn't presided over the biggest debt this country has seen since the second world war.

  • Comment number 22.

    the way I see this election its a choice between 3 parties you cant trust and 3 more fringe parties you cant take seriously.

  • Comment number 23.

    #16

    I thought he did Politics Philosophy and Economics as a degree? I wasn't aware of his PhD, thanks for letting me know. =)

  • Comment number 24.

    Certainly none of the three candidates on the X-Factor last night.
    They are still not being truthful with the electorate. Just how deep do the cuts have to be? Listening to these three it sounds as if they haven't a clue. How many lies will be told and how much will be covered up 'in the national interest'

  • Comment number 25.

    Vince Cable.
    Trouble is trying to fix it with the old thinking and way of doing things.
    It high time that MP's stop treating us like imbeciles and grasp the fact that we know that there is a serious problem. Stop pussyfooting about and propose your cuts and what we have to lose to achieve the savings and over what time scale to get us out of this mess and let US decide who we believe can steer the ship with an honest hand!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Browns idea of relying growth to pay back the public debt is wrong and seriously flawed,


    What happens if the economy doesn't grow as you have expected and those tax receipts are much less, what are going to do? borrow more? You have to cut back at sometime. If Brown doesnt cut back the debt could be much much worse.Borrowing money to pay for public service is idiotic.

    The longer you have debts the more interest you pay.

    Brown has been wrong on all of the economic predictions he has invested in public services as if was the major econmony, if he had invested in buisness and tax cuts for high tech jobs and companies, that would have the grown the economy and then you could have paid for public services that way.

  • Comment number 27.

    None of the three major horses in this race inspire me with their ability to manage the economy. So I have been looking at interviews with the minority parties, beginning with the BNP.I had hoped that the media would expose any strengths and weaknesses in their economic policies. Oh Dear, what amateurish reporting from the media. I saw the BNP candidate interviewed by a very sad media woman - obviously desperate to please her masters - with several sheets of questions about the iniquities of certain BNP members. Trouble is, she could not shut up and did not have the brains to raise questions as to how that party could manage the economy. Now questions regarding the economy could be the making or breaking of the minority parties, so please BBC get rid of reporters who are limited to personal abuse of candidates. Remember, it is the electorate's rare privelige to abuse candidates with the ballot box, where we will judge who is best to manage the economy.

  • Comment number 28.

    Vince of course - he is the economic dude. Brown is a dismal failure who rode an illusion and Osborne - well come on now - trust and him in the same sentence, I think not. Vince it will have to be and lets face it he did predict the crash in detail long before it happened and generally the best policies of the other parties are nicked off Vince.

  • Comment number 29.

    None of the political leaders can afford to be honest about the economy because they fear being blamed for spreading bad news. But the truth, which will emerge soon after the election, is as follows. The UK is mired in debt of gigantic proportions and there is no way forward to prosperity until it is dealt with. That will mean (a) much bigger cuts in public spending than anything yet discussed - there won't be any 'sacred cows', not even the NHS will be immune; (b) a big rise in public sector unemployment; (c) big increases in taxes - and not only for the 'rich', everyone will pay more. If it's Labour in charge (and they are responsible for much of the mess) they'll either have to learn these truths very quickly or the matter will be taken out of their hands by the IMF and the EU. Don't me misled by talk of 'the recovery' - economic growth in itself won't get us out of debt. Tough times are ahead.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, if it were possible to apply UK law to bankers that should sort it - a REFUND. Otherwise shut your eyes and pin a tail on a donkey? Or vote? Same outcome.

  • Comment number 31.

    Vince Cable

    Some interesting information from his website explains why:

    Vincent Cable read Natural Science and Economics at Cambridge University, where he was President of the Union, followed by a PhD at Glasgow University.

    Vince worked as Treasury Finance Officer for the Kenya Government between 1966 and 1968. After lecturing at Glasgow University in economics he worked as a first Secretary in the Diplomatic Service in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1974-1976). He was then Deputy Director of the Overseas Development Institute, which included a period working for the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, John Smith MP, as a Special Advisor. From 1983 to 1990 Vince worked as Special Advisor on Economic Affairs for the Commonwealth Secretary General, Sir Sonny Ramphal.

    From 1990 Vince worked for Shell International and in 1995 became Shell's Chief Economist. He was made head of the economics programme at Chatham House and since becoming an MP, has been appointed a fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford and a visiting research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the LSE, for a 3 year period until 2004.


    Source: http://www.vincentcable.org.uk/pages/vincecable.html


    That sounds like a great CV for someone looking to repair the damage that's been done to our economy in recent years.

  • Comment number 32.

    I wouldn't trust George Osborne to look after my dog and I can't trust Darling based on the fact you can't call him 'darling' without a snigger and that his eyebrows and hair need to agree how old he is. Vince Cable seems like a nice bloke but I don't know if I believe him either.

    Based on the fact that none of the Chancellors in waiting have any economic or accounting qualifications whatsoever I think maybe I should have a go as I at least have an AAT qualification.

    They will, after all, do what senior civil servants want to happen once they're in office so I suppose it doesn't really matter whether we have Al, George or Vinnie as the Chancellor as each of them will just do what he's told.

    Alistair Campbell did, after all, have to explain what Gordon Brown meant by 'the end of boom and bust' in an interview earlier this week. I actually felt sorry for him becuase he seems like a decent sort. Just in the wrong job, working for a megalomaniac that messed up the job he's doing before being promoted into a job he's incompetent at.

  • Comment number 33.

    Browns philosophy of conitnually throwing public money at problems in order to fix them is seriously flawed and the British public have rumbled it. Cameron is right, there is an immense amount of waste in both education and health and, believe me from experience, there is an enormous amount of latitude to save tax payers money in these two areas alone. Labour IS still the old party of tax and spend, only Cameron can reign this spending spree in and make sure that we get real value for money coupled with strong performance in our public services.

  • Comment number 34.

    If Labour gets in again I am leaving because this country will be heading for financial oblivion that will last two generations. It is disgusting how they have brought the once great country which they inherited to its knees.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't trust Brown because he watched the problem occur in the first place without doing anything. That shows a lack of foresight.



    I don't trust Clegg because his new spending and tax cuts are greater than the amount he proposes to gain through new taxes and savings. People love him because his giveaways sound brilliant but even David Dimbleby has told Ming Campbell that they've double-counted their savings. Clegg proposes £20bn/year of income tax cuts to give most workers an extra £58/month. Even supposing we can afford that and cover it with savings, is it a strategic tax break that will promote growth? We'd all like a little extra money, but we all know the answer is 'no'. Same thing with the £7bn/year cost of scrapping tuition fees. Clegg also got the National Insurance rise wrong the first time round before eventually following the Tory lead.


  • Comment number 36.

    Cameron.....reason is that Brown has been in too long and is looking more and more tired and jaded.Bear in mind that it will take at least two more terms to get us back into balance with the annual Budget Deficit Also he would try to continue his double role of PM and Chancellor. Clegg has insufficient experience to be PM although his time may come. I feel that Cameron could hold his own in world circles and with Ken Clarke as advisor on the economy he would be quite capable of guiding us through the tough times ahead.

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't fully trust the three pictured above. Assuming the economy is the only factor upon which to base my trust, I'd trust and support anyone who advocated reviving Britain's economic base, helping to restore our old industries and allow farmers to grow more food. Towards this end I'd support a party that advocated Britain leaving the EU and establishing Switzerland style free trade links, the party I trust most with this issue is currently UKIP.

  • Comment number 38.

    With all the denial seen in the three main parties so far, I expect to see the global bond markets forcing nasty medicine on the UK economy some time in autumn 2010.



  • Comment number 39.

    Brown was a 'novice' in 1887 and is now responsible for running up the largest debt since WW2. So much for novices.

    To No 8, it was tax payer's money that bailed out certain banks and LLoyds was virtually forced by the government to take on the failing bank HBOS and its toxic debts. Both Lloyds and RBS are repaying the debt. do get your facts right.

    Brown is now saying jobs, jobs, jobs. jobs doing what exactly?

    Blair said 'education' education, education, remember, things can only get better, remember, 'tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime' remember.

    13 years on, children leave primary school unable to read or write, they leave secondary school having passed a few dumbed down exams, go to university, leave with a huge debt and a useless degree.

    The Police are noticeable by their absence, too busy sticking to targets and prisons are overcrowded.

    Brown is only intent on one thing, remaining PM, he is a proven liar, completely incompetent in recognising of the horrendous debt he has placed on the UKs citizens, appears to be deluded enough to think the country is well placed to recover under his borrow and spend like there is no tomorrow

    To the questioner who asked whether anyone would buy a used car from David Cameron, the answer is Yes I would.

    We need a strong government with a mandate to govern for the benefit of the COUNTRY and a Prime Minister who is not there for personal gain or to claim that 'I saved the world',

    Brown is the only person who has access to the debt, which is increasing on an hourly basis, he is hardly going to be truthful about it despite his much trumpeted honourable religious background.

    He has done more damage to the country than was done by Hitler during the Second World War.

  • Comment number 40.

    I trust anyone (including the office cleaner) more than that incompetant liar Brown. He has been the worst chancellor in UK history, taking the surplus left to him by Ken Clarke and turning it into a huge defict of £160 plus billion AFTER the billions used to support the finicial crisis. The UK DEBT is near £800 billion and will be £1.2 TRILLION in a couple of years. Brown and his fellow incompetants have, like the previous Labour administrations, destroyed the UK economy. They are not competant to sort this HUGE mess out. If Labour get in again, the markets will go into freefall and the pound hit hard. Socialist dreamers again will have to whake up (they can always blame it on Thatcher....).

  • Comment number 41.

    #34. Oh dear, not another one leaving the country. Perhaps that's what Labour want - out with the old and in with the new (Labour voters of course).

  • Comment number 42.

    All three parties are too frightened to tell the truth about what's needed to fix this. Why? Because the public has shown in the past that it prefers being told what it wants to hear. It's human nature. Consequently all the main parties employ political scientists and psychologists that tell them what to say even down to which are the most popular words to use. Our electoral system has got too sophisticated for it to be any real use.

    Therefore, with insufficient candour from the campaigning candidates, in order to answer the question we have to look beyond the sound-bites and manifestos;

    Gordon Brown is clearly the worst of the three options. He's driven the country to the edge of bancruptcy and a huge proportion of our taxes now go to pay interest on loans. This will go up even more if he gets back in as the lenders realise they are unlikely to get their money back and increase their rates.

    As for the latest figures, which he claims show that the economy is recovering - this is simply the effect of all the borrowed money/quantitative easing that has been thrown into the economy. Even a terminal debt junky can feel positive for a short time if he's contrived a stay of execution by taking out a new loan to pay off debts. Regrettably a double dip recession (and an extremely nasty one at that) is inevitable. At best Gordon can only hope that history does not hold him responsible as the carnage will occur on someone elses watch.

    As for the other two, it is of course less clear as we have no track record to go on. Since they're both too frightened to present a realistic description of what needs to be done (see first paragraph above) we probably have to assess the ideologies of the two parties as far as we are able.

    Looking at it in very basic terms, the Conservatives favour a smaller state with the day-to-day running of services decentralised. The idea is that this should require less government funding, enabling taxes to be reduced (or in this case to pay off more of Gordons debt) and stimulate the economy. This is almost certain to uncover the reality of the situation but should start to address some of the structural imbalance in the economy (thee's no getting around the fact that the private sector pays for the public sector).

    The LibDems have traditionally been a higher taxing party (perhaps in part because until recently they have been able to make promises that they know that they will never have to keep) and I don't think this ideological stance will be lost, even to address the catastrophic situation we find ourselves in. Therefore, although I think Vince Cable would be significantly more competent than Darling under Brown, I don't see them improving the finances as quickly as the Tories without resorting to a rather reckless abandonment of the nuclear deterrent)

    Government is always terrible at efficiency. I have seen this first hand having worked in the public sector, private sector and in the private sector contracted to the public sector. The waste can be staggering. Therefore high tax-high spend strategies (in my view) direct money into the least efficient parts of the economy. This is no way to stimulate a recovery. Unfortunately we will only get out of this and avoid being permanent debt slaves if we take some unpleasant medicine as soon as possible, and this means the Tories who will be incredibly unpopular for tryin to solve the problem.

  • Comment number 43.

    I don,t really trust any of them possibly with the exception of Vince Cable and that remains to be proved.To be perfectly honest I have totally lost faith with Banks,Shares,Pensions and Paper money, why pay somebody to look after what you,ve worked hard for when there is no accountability and they still want paying when you loose money.Mega Inflation is on the way thanks to Quantative Easing,remember Germany in the 30,s when people had to be paid on the hour and spend it otherwise it was worthless,in the end money was worthless and cigarettes,barter,etc, took over,unless things are properly sorted out instead of tinkering thats where we are heading.Put your money in Gold and Silver while its still worth something.

  • Comment number 44.

    Intellectually challenged Osborne? You have to be kidding. Banker's favourite Ken Clark? Hah. Darling? Yes man to Gordon Brown, who probably tried to run Treasury as well as the Country while PM which is perhaps why it got in such a mess. Err, not again, thank you.

    So that leaves Vince Cable. The 'Mighty Vince' you could say. Plenty of experience, having been top Finance guy at Shell for while. He understands how the City works, how banking works, how private companies work, and he has a conscience too. He won the Chancellors' Debate, and has topped all polls I can remember seeing over the last few months any time the question "Who would make the best Chancellor?" was asked.

    In the end though, I just trust the LibDems more. Nick Clegg comes across as very open and honest, and with Vince Cable in Finance the future could be very bright. Can't be as dull or divisive as the Red/Blue past.

  • Comment number 45.

    Without any doubt Brown, what is never reported in our biased press is the regard with which Brown is held abroad. He was voted Statesman of the Year in US and he was very influencial in persuading the united world effort to overcome the recession. Without his effort there is no doubt that the recession would have been worse and unemployment much higher. With hindesight more should have been done to undo much of the damage inflicted by Thatcher but without him we would be in a much worse position.
    Clegg is the new boy and many of his policies are questionable such as joining the Euro.Thank goodness with Spain, Italy , Portugal, Ireland and Greece in the state they are in it's a good thing we are out of the Euro.
    Cameron, well who knows what he stands for, he changes with the wind, not a characteristic desirable in an economic leader. The man is a follower, not someone fit to lead us in any crisis. It's a good job he wasn't in power when the recession began, if we had taken the actions he suggested at the time we would have been much much worse off

  • Comment number 46.

    Andrew wrote:
    "Definitely not Labour, even if they were successful."

    They weren't; it was done on borrowed money, plus money they should have been saving. We went into the credit crisis with debt much greater than it should have been because of this.

  • Comment number 47.

    Vince Cable - yes.

    Clegg, a little less so.

    Alistair Darling / Gordon Brown - surprisingly 9even to myself a little) Yes. The 10 year period prior to the GLOBAL financial crisis & recession (please don't try and tell me that Brown caused the collapse of the American banks, it's just nonsense) was pretty good. We're coming out of recession now and aren't burdened with the level of unemployment that the conservatives would have liked to have had.

    Osbourne - not at all.

    Cameron - too interested in sorting out the terrible problems afflicting the very rich, rather than a fairer economy for all - so no. Has Ken Clarke around as a fig leaf of saeriousness, but is quite oppossed to nearly all Clarke's views, which makes him doubly dubious.

  • Comment number 48.

    Brown is completely wrong on the economy. The deficit must be tackled urgently. If anyone thinks we can just go on borrowing forever take a look at Greece. Anyway its he free market that decides how much you can borrow NOT the government as foreign investers will demand higher and higher yields from bond auctions until our borrowing becomes so expensive we will be forced into the hands of the IMF just like Labour did before in the 70's.

    UKIP have the best policy - pull out of europe that will save us 37million net a day....won;t fix the black hole overnight but its a damn good start.........

  • Comment number 49.

    #34 - how can we check that you'll keep your promise ? Or is it just the usual hot air ?

  • Comment number 50.

    Sadly none of them. The labour party and the Conservative party have each shown themselves to be as incompetent as each other or have we forgotten the recession of the late 80's early 90's. The liberal democrats have never been given a chance but need to spell out their message in unambiguous terms and refrain from political rhetoric. The general public are growing wise to the spin and terminological inexactitudes, I will refrain from saying lies.
    As a consequence I would trust The Air Marshall, Field Marshall, First Admiral of the fleet, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Phillip Green in forming an alliance to save the economy and the country.

  • Comment number 51.

    It can only get better - provided Labour and the Tories are not in the government.

  • Comment number 52.

    Here we have it if your address as North in it, Northern Ireland, North East, North West, the whole of Wales and Scotland you have blown it.
    Unemployment, cuts in public services are yours if, Just call me Dave, gets into power, and they will say itsa price worth paying.
    Redeemer VAT the Tories favourite tax, will not be ruled out, in the first Budget that’s in 50 DAYS from MAY 6th, that means it’s in, and at What rate, 20% minimum, maybe 22.5/5
    Like all other Tories he hates the North any part of it, we merely get in the way of his rich business pals who will profit under his tax plans, high VAT hits the poor the hardest, they will subsidise the rich Tories.
    Her is a further reminder of what the Tories did before, do not be fooled they will do it again and worse.
    1 In 1979/80 the conservative government changed its mind on not increasing VAT from 8% before being elected to 15% when elected.
    Does Mr Cameron think this was an acceptable thing to do.?
    They then raised it from 15% to 17.5%
    Was that the right thing to do?

    2 During the 1980,s the conservative government closed or castrated our car making, steel making and mining industries.
    This left whole communities destroyed in WALES, SCOTLAND, YORKSHIRE, THE NORTH EAST, and any where that depended on these industries, as a way of life.
    Was that the right changed to make?

    3 In the 1980/90 Conservatives.
    Sold the gas industry. Have the consumer been better off for that.
    Was it the right change to make?

    4 In the 1980/90 Conservatives sold
    The electric industry
    Have the consumer been better off for that,
    And was right change to make it

    5 In the 1980/90 Conservatives sold The British telecom industry
    Have the consumer been better off for that,
    And was it right change to make

    6The water industry was sold
    Have the consumer been better off for that change.
    And was right change to make it

    7 The beer orders were introduced,
    This resulted in our Brewing industry being destroyed
    Along with closeting of thousands of local public houses, which had been the focal point of so many local communities.
    WAS that the right change to make?

    8 The rail industry was denationalised
    With the result of poorer service and vastly more expensive service to use.
    Was this the right thing to do?

    9 The changed the rules that Banks and Building societies,
    They created the new Banks like Northern Rock.
    This was the start of the disastrous mess the Banks left us in.
    Was this the right thing to do?

    10 The conservatives led us into the ERM
    , that led to the collapse of sterling, and interest rates of 15%,
    You were an adviser at the time to Mr Lamont.
    Was this the right thing to do?

    11 The Conservatives led us out of the ERM
    And was it right change to make

    12 The Conservatives Put 17.5 VAT on previously zero rated gas and ELECTRIC SUPPLIES.
    Was this the right change to make?

    13 The conservatives put on the fuel escalator
    which is the main reason that petrol and diesel is so high.
    Was this the right change

    14 The Conservatives said “unemployment was a price worth paying”,
    Do you think it is a price worth paying Mr Cameron?

    15 The selling of council housing, and preventing councils from using the money to build other council property.
    This led to a chronic shortage in the rented sector.
    It then created the volcanic growth of property and to a situation when Banks on the back of this BOOM, lending more to people who could not afford to buy these houses.
    Was this the right change to make?

    16 Finally they introduced to the commons the now discredited expenses and pension scheme.
    And why? To compensate MP, s for taking a lower pay rise.
    The result of this as been made very clear in the last months
    Was this the right change to make?

  • Comment number 53.

    To All MPs

    Question = If we lent so much money to the banks which put the country in debt, and we had to borrow to to do this. when the banks pay us back theoretically we should be able to pay back and go back on target. which ponders the question why do we have to cut back???

    Also if we bring back manufacturing, it will bring the good money back to UK rather than sending it the abroad.

  • Comment number 54.

    39. At 8:39pm on 23 Apr 2010, Lynn from Sussex wrote:

    He has done more damage to the country than was done by Hitler during the Second World War.


    Oh, get a grip Lynn! Are there half a million dead and many more wounded? Are cities lying in ruins? Are people seriously worse off than they were (how many have mobile phones, computers, media centres, internet access etc etc that they could only dream about in 1997?)? How many are starving or close to it?

    You really need to get a sense of perspective if you think the current situation bears any comparison with teh aftermath of WW2.

  • Comment number 55.

    Interesting reading indeed.

    I know most of you will find this very boring at first but please bear with me, I've just been reading the 2009 pre-budget report, what else is there to do an a Friday night right!

    It states the following sources of income for the treasury for the following tax years from the introduction of the new bank payroll tax.

    2009 / 10 - £550 million
    2010 / 11 - £Nil
    2011 / 12 - £Nil
    2012 / 13 - £Nil

    Very, very interesting indeed.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Page 11.

  • Comment number 56.

    vince cable

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't think any of them are up to economics in a world of the global corporatisation. I don't think much of Brown's ideas - he has views and they may work though he's also made some incredible mistakes. His talk of fragile recovery doesn't work with me: with all the quantitative easing, scrappage schemes, reduced VAT etc., and we have growth of only 0.2%, what sort of recovery is that?

    More to the point, globalisation - fast in finance, technology transfer, skilled labour movements and international terrorism; and slow in governance, normative issues, international regulation, the fight against global warming, crime, etc - has created winners and losers both within as well as between countries.

    The winners want to eliminate the old rules governing trade and commerce and replace them with rules that enhance market relations at the expense of government mediation.

    New trade agreements are basically undemocratic. The negotiations are conducted in secret and the agreements are forged in a way that will make it as good as impossible for future governments to rescind agreements that are found to be unpopular.

    The idea of free markets is fine but it means the end of decision making based on one-person-one-vote in favour of one pound/dollar/euro etc, one vote.

    What have Osborne, Cable and Darling got to say about such things?


  • Comment number 58.

    Brown has clearly failed: he has not foreseen to econcomic consequences of his laxity on immigration, the EU, haemorraging of jobs overseas, excessive taxation, etc. etc... But he is an economist so no excuse.

    Clegg is following in Brown's footsteps with numbers that do not add up.

    Cameron is making some of the right noises but we do not know the full extent of the mess created by NuLabour.

    But what we can guarantee is a meltdown in the markets after all the hot air in the media and from politicians on a hung parliament. None of them can be trusted to manage a brittle situation.

  • Comment number 59.

    Certainly not Gordon Brown based on his record over the last 13 years. We are more broke than we have ever been.

  • Comment number 60.

    Monster Raving loony Party!

  • Comment number 61.

    After reading of this article with special attention on British election daily updates,i strongly believe that,Liberal party!s leaders sayings on many subjects are really worth to British citizens, and to her young future generations.
    The famous existing ruling party had good understanding,knowledge on world economics,had not provided any best economic mechanism and not brought any noticeable changes at frequent times.
    So,Now, Britishers can expect much silver lining from Liberal party for Britain!s great future.
    This is the right time for some vital change of heads in British political systems and for ruling in future years.
    Many successive governments in Asian and in European nations had adjusted and tackled joint political power for ruling,maintaining a good economic growth and a good understanding with their neighbors and have a good record with foreign nations.
    For notable examples are-1.India,2.Germany.
    Germany is not very far away from Britain.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Lib Dems - ie Vince Cable. Even without his real-world (ie industry, not government) experience quoted above, he was the only one of the prospective Chancellors who warned years in advance that things were going wrong with the banks, was the only one who saw the myth of credit-fueled 'growth' as a dangerous problem not a desirable state of affairs, and the only one who now appears to want to seriously tackle the banks and the City and call their bluff.

  • Comment number 63.

    Lucy Clake wrote:
    "Without any doubt Brown, what is never reported in our biased press is the regard with which Brown is held abroad."

    He is held in little to no esteem abroad Lucy. See page 3 of today's (Friday 23rd April) Financial Times for a report on how Brown is viewed abroad as regards the crisis.

  • Comment number 64.

    Vince Cable

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    Gordon's claims that he can stop the slide into recession are meaningless: he got us into the biggest one since the Wall Street Crash on 1929; the current recession has not bottomed out; and, the panic over the volcanic ash has crippled the airline industry.

    NuLabour do not stand for Socialism and looking after workers interests. It stands for jobs, jobs and jobs & expenses for NuLabour at the expense of everyone else. Economically Britain is weaker than it has ever been before.

  • Comment number 67.

    Who would I trust with the economy? Probably Vince Cable, on balance.

    However, I would really like something to be done about the vast array of taxes being collected in the UK.

    We have various rates of VAT, income tax, national insurance, alcohol duty, tobacco duty, council tax, fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, insurance premuim tax, tax on interested earned on our savings. Then we get charged when we go to the dentist, have to pay (in England) for presecriptions, and so it goes on....

    How much does it cost in collecting all these different taxes and charges?

    It is no wonder we have a heavy public sector. They're mostly collecting and counting our money - which all has to be paid for somehow.....!

    Then we have private firms providing public services, on which they have to make a profit, so costs to the users go up and non-profitable routes get cut. Hence it is now cheaper to go by car than to use public transport (where it exists), CO2 emissions go up, congestion levels rise, fuel duty take rises, and we, the public, are fleeced and annoyed all round.

    Enough is enough, surely!

    Let's get lean and simplify how we pay for things. Time for some joined-up thinking.....

  • Comment number 68.

    Jonn wrote:
    "...The 10 year period prior to the GLOBAL financial crisis & recession (please don't try and tell me that Brown caused the collapse of the American banks, it's just nonsense) was pretty good...."

    That's because all Brown did was borrow a heap of money in a boom and spent it, along with record taxes.
    Any fool can throw a big party on borrowed money.

  • Comment number 69.

    34. At 8:32pm on 23 Apr 2010, Richard Offord wrote:

    If Labour gets in again I am leaving because this country will be heading for financial oblivion that will last two generations. It is disgusting how they have brought the once great country which they inherited to its knees.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Goodbye.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    I say Cameron, Osborne & Ken Clarke, & I expect it to be a struggle!

    I think Gordon Brown has & will be reckless, & plunge us further into debt & as for Nick Clegg, well I think moving to Greece will soon be looked upon as a higher standard of living!

  • Comment number 72.

    Me.

  • Comment number 73.

    If Cameron conceded that the lives of the electorate amount to more than just fixing the defecit then he wouldn't have lost his huge lead.

    Cutting spending quickly will lose people their jobs and homes and seeing a reduction in the defecit will do little to comfort those people. In fact, given that they will lose everything because of a bunch of rich people gambling with the economy, I'm guessing they will be very angry.

    The Tories say jobs will be created if the private sector grows quickly but I'm not so sure. I lost my broadband connection, called tech support and was connected to someone on a low wage in India. So guess what? I don't believe the right wing dogma about wealth trickling down to the poorer people of society. (Due to globalisation) I think wealth trickles to wherever it will make the rich people richer.

    I don't like Cameron. I don't trust or believe Cameron and I certainly won't be voting for Cameron.

  • Comment number 74.

    If not me, then the Monster Raving Looney Party.

    In fact, anyway could do it, just not the idiots from ther Conservative or Labour parties.

  • Comment number 75.

    Out of all the canidates, I would prefer Vince Cable to be in charge of the economy. He is the only one who seems to know what he is doing and what he has to do.

    Nick Clegg is right in saying that we have to look at our expenditure and consider cutbacks, such as Trident.

    David Cameron is right in saying that we have to make cuts in welfare, especially for the long-term unemployed people who have no intention in working. In fact, Cameron doesn't go far enough, as he won't touch accommodation costs. These have to be taken into consideration if you are going to make cuts. Cutting the £60 a week job-seeker's allowance and letting the person stay in £500 a week accommodation with the concurret loss of council tax revenue is short-sighted. I agree with Caroline Flint's idea in 2008. Long-term unemployed people should be moved away from large cities and housed in cheap, hard-to-let accommodation. As long as many people are better off on benefits rather than working, they will have no incentive to work. The UK can't afford non-working families living in mansions costing £1,500-3,000 a week when low-paid workers share bedrooms. No party has done much to tackle this subject and it seems that all parties would prefer to let poor workers pay for non-working families to have as many children as they like and have access to more material goods than poor working people.

    Lazy scoungers should be worse off than low-paid working people. I agree with Nick Clegg's principle of raising the tax-free allowance to £10,000 - in fact the alloweance could rise to £12,000, so the lowest paid workers are better off than anybody on benefits.

    I wouldn't trust Gordon Brown with the UK's finances. When Labour took power in 1997, the Conservatives had left the economy in good condition. Now, the UK is heavily in debt due to the massive overspending of the Labour government. Gordon Brown can try and blame global recession, but its Labour's fault that the UK is the most indebted nation in Europe. If Gordon Brown were put in charge of the bank accounts of HYS correspondents, most of you would be bankrupt. Putting Labour in power again would be like setting fire to the Bank of England. Alistair darling has admitted that he will borrow less money than last year - this means that he will continue to borrow money and the debt will increase and so will the interest UK taxpayers will have to pay back, perhaps over decades.

    I suggest that a Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance is probably best for the UK. I can't guarantee that the UK will benefit from it. What I can say is that the UK will continue to decline if Labour gets in again.

  • Comment number 76.

    I wouldn't trust brown with the controls to the telly let alone the economy.

    There are other factors as well like alistar campbell and peter mandelson.

    I have never forgiven labour for the death of my friend Dr david kelly

  • Comment number 77.

    No one ever seems to mention PFI. This is a huge amount of debt that doesn't even appear on the Government's balance sheet. Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this for years to come.

  • Comment number 78.

    55. At 8:53pm on 23 Apr 2010, you wrote:
    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain

    Why is it, that the comment I made about the fact the bank payroll tax only appears to be getting the Government income in the tax year 2009/10 and no income in the following 3 tax years (as shown in the 2009 pre budget report) being held back!

    I think the British public should be made aware that the tax on bank bonuses appears to be a one off. It reinforces my belief that we are heading back to the unsustainable status quo with only a bigger problem down the line.

  • Comment number 79.

    The Tories have Ken Clarke as an advisor and that gives me some confidence in them.

    Nobody likes what the Tories are saying with respect to cuts. That means they're probably being more honest than the other 2 parties.

  • Comment number 80.

    I wish to complain in public about the person who said Nick Griffin: ie Racist. Note: if it was up to him, such a complaint would not be allowed. Be warned, be very warned.

  • Comment number 81.

    Why bark up the wrong tree... like .... why .... put the cart before the horse?

    Let's assume that all three of these men are totally rubbish at developing economic policy. It's not the case ... but it's not the issue either.

    What matters is who is going to sort out the banks ... once and for all.

    How hard did you work this week? Did you get a 2 million bonus?

    For me I know that there's no point getting more passengers in the boat until the hole is fixed... and as far as I'm aware

    "the hole ain't fixed yet" .... and the government hasn't even found the bung ....

    and forget this pandering for "global" this and "global that" excuses ... sure it's global but this is as domestic as it is global.

    A lot of the economic mess could have been avoided here with proper legislation on limits linking mortgages to salaries. It's high time gordon Brown and darling got tough with the banks.

    It seems the banks are just going to take the mince out of us again and again ad nauseum...

    So on the matter of the economy I'll be voting for the man and his team who will be most likely to repair the hole first.

    then perhaps

    at the next election

    I'll consider their policies for economic growth.

  • Comment number 82.

    To 45, Lucy Clake. It is not the biased press that does not want either a Labour or a hung parliament, it is the international money markets.

    Have you read the unemployemnt figures, do you really not recognise the debt that your pin up boy has inflicted on the rest of us?

    Do you really not recognise that this country is way behind others in recovering from a recession, do you also not realise that another term of Brown will definitely lead to intervention by the IMF.

    To all of you going back to the Thatcher government, never forget that her tough choices were made after the abjcct failure of a Labour government being ruled by the Trades unions


    To No 54. The analogy was not so much about financial matters but about loss of communties fragmented by problems caused by unchecked immigrations and other social issues.

    Parents who take no responsibilty, benefit scroungers, drunkeness, drugs abuse etc, and you cite items such as mobile phones as being important, they can actually be lived without believe it or not

    To 67. We have only 2 rates of VAT, 17.5% and 5%. The Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise have been merged into HMCR for some years!



  • Comment number 83.

    None and I would like all the parties to put their heads together to find the best solutions to the nation's problems. As for Trident, who are we going to attack Iran? Israel will do the job and the US will take care of North Korea so why are we spending £100 billion on renewing Trident? Withdraw the troops from Afghanistan. Cut down all the waste in the system and let individuals and families begin to live within their means and stop accumulating all the crap and instead live a healthier, more fulfilling and simpler life.

  • Comment number 84.

    Public sector jobs do not bring money into the country, therefore they do not foster growth. The private sector does bring money into the country and that is where growth will come from. Every £31300 taken in tax from private industry is potentially stopping a new job, a new job that will do productive work that will contribute to exports and bring in foreign money.

    We should keep what we need in the public sector but all unnecessary excesses should go because they're a barrier to growth. Every 'chief in charge of walking round with a clipboard' is causing inflation, costing jobs in the private sector, crippling the expansion of exports and discouraging foreign investment (new money).

  • Comment number 85.

    Richard Offord wrote:
    “If Labour gets in again I am leaving because this country will be heading for financial oblivion that will last two generations. It is disgusting how they have brought the once great country which they inherited to its knees.”

    May I just say how sick I am of people reeling out old b***shit like “this once great country” and other refs to a non-existent golden age when coppers gave rowdy young-uns a clip round the ear for scrumping etc. etc. etc ad nauseum? Thanks.

  • Comment number 86.

    To owencoc re comment 52 @ 8:51pmowencoco

    Just what do you think th Conservative inheritied from your labour pals in 1979 - a country that had once again been bankrupted by inept Labour Party - indeed one that was in cahoots with the Liberals. Perhaps you have forgotten that the IMF had to step in under Callaghan's Labour/Liberal 'coalition'. It was an absolute joke then and would be even worse in today's climate - which is perhaps even worse than in 1978/79.

    The Tories under Thatcher did a huge amount to put this Country back on its feet again. Yes, they made some mistakes, but none as heinous as to what your seemingly beloved Brown and his apparatchik have done in the last 13 years. They inheritied arguably the strongest economy in Europe and now surprise, surprise, our Country is bankrupt again.

    I would also remind you that your party is intent on privatisation of many agencies and would have preferred to privatise the Post Office amongst others. In general terms most of the privatisations have been a success, especially BT - or perhaps you'd prefer a monopolist state enterprise for all our telecomms. One dreads to think what your bills would be for such things as internet and mobile calls had the entirety not been privatised.

    One suspects that the regretful closing down of so many pubs and clubs, sadly including working men's clubs, has as much to do with Brown's Stalinist anti-smoking legislation as anything else.

  • Comment number 87.

    I notice that Gordon Brown has started refering to the Conservitives 6 billion saving pledge as 6 thousand million to really emphasise the size of this amount.

    I wish someone would pick up on this & emphasize Browns uk budget deficit as 163 thousand million.

  • Comment number 88.

    What scare's me is the comments on here.

  • Comment number 89.

    47. At 8:46pm on 23 Apr 2010, Jonn wrote:

    The 10 year period prior to the GLOBAL financial crisis & recession (please don't try and tell me that Brown caused the collapse of the American banks, it's just nonsense) was pretty good.


    No, but he did nothing to enforce any kind of regulation on UK-based banks as the B of E once did. Allowing such stupidity as banks granting mortgages at 125% of LTV is ludicrous when house-price inflation is obviously ballooning. He could have instructed the FSA to stamp on that. But no...he was getting a nice tax take to finance his spending excesses. He could have insisted on banks having a respectable capital adequacy. He could have clamped down on personal debt. Crikey, the government can control ISAs to make sure you don't have more than one account, he could set up a system to control personal credit - but no, his boom was based on credit expansion. Hence, the naughty banks went sour.

    = = = = =

    We're coming out of recession now and aren't burdened with the level of unemployment that the conservatives would have liked to have had.

    I presume you're being derisive! The actual number of unemployed people and those on part time who would love full time are considerably higher than those signed on for job-seekers' allowance.

    We need to see what happens when the many economic stimuli are removed to check if we're out of recession or not.

  • Comment number 90.

    I would not trust any of them. They could not sort out their own MP's expenses claims fiasco. What chance have they got in sorting out the economy of the whole of the UK. They are not fit for purpose. I will vote for the "greens" this time - just to show my disgust!

    Phil Edwards
    North Wales.

  • Comment number 91.

    We hear today that the last quarter's growth in the economy was 0.4%. Remember,'we will be out of recession with a strong economic growth rate in 2010'?

    The previous quarter 0.2% now 0.4%, not spectacular is it?

    Time for a clear out I think.

  • Comment number 92.

    Who can you trust? The 'New Labour' party just carried on with the same old Tory policies when they took office, and I think to be fair ANY UK party would have been caught out by the world-wide banking crisis, (But not their 'in the know' pals, who make too much for themselves to be terribly concerned about the rest of us.) The Lib-Dems I used to sympathise with, but not now they're led by another 'Toff' (like Cameron) - AND they want us to go headlong into the EU and adopt the silly Euro, like we're in as bad a state as all the poor East Europeans who have joined it in the hope that the good old Germans & French will bail them out!..........................Yeah, right.
    Vive la revolution !!

  • Comment number 93.

    Isn't it strange. Only in the UK is there so much negative talk about Gordon Brown. Speaking to people from around the world there is almost universal praise for the way he led all the leading economies in baling out the banks and and launching the stimulous package. They all followed his lead and the world avoided a far deeper depression.
    Cameron just wants to go against all of these countries and make cuts too early - this would plunge us back into recession and cost thousands of jobs.
    Let Brown continue the good work - once we have strong growth then the nation will be much better placed to reduce the deficit.
    Substance and experience are far better than style and good PR.

  • Comment number 94.

    Lets get real, Europe which Britain is a part is facing challenges from developing countries. For an example, a company in Britain was taking over by an American company, within 18 months, the whole production line was moved to Brazil. The cost to the taxpayer ipayment of Benefit payments, and loss of State revunue loss i.e Council tax and income tax and VAT. How do politicians react? They talk of global markets, free trade but none of them mention the downside of global markets. Then they bail out the banking system which they should have regulated, cause of a large part of government debt.

    So who should we trust, Brown, he was the one who bailed out the bankers, Cameron/Osbourne, you are joking their friends are the same people who nearly bankrupted the banks and the country. The Liberals, well Cable has warned us for years about State and personal spending. So maybe post as Chancellor, We need people who know the real economic world and the end to the political and social class that have brought us to verge of ruin. LETS GET REAL WE WILL SOON BE IN POSITION TO AFFORD OUR WELFARE STATE

  • Comment number 95.

    Having studied the 3 manifesto's in detail I have come to the conclusion that the Conservatives have the right action & the determination to reduce the deficit to a manageable level by 2014/15 while the Labour action will leave us a debt of approx 75% of GDP in the same year which is larger than it is currently. Whoever eventually has to make the decisions they will not be able to avoid a big reduction in public expenditure & I think the Tories will find this easier to do than a party in debt to the big unions.As far as the Lib/Dems are concerned they do not have members experienced enough to take on such a task which shows in their manifesto promises. We would end up in the E R M with no sensible plan to meet our elec/gas requirements & the country probably propped up by the I M F.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Vince Cable.

  • Comment number 98.

    Once again the Conservatives will inherit an economic mess. It will need a heavyweight chancellor to put us on the right path so the only credible option for the first two years or so is KEN CLARKE.

  • Comment number 99.

    Anybody apart from the Tories

  • Comment number 100.

    Brown and Darling, not Clegg and Cable and definitely not Cameron and Osbourne.

    Why? I don't blame Brown for the recession any more than any other World leader. The Tories certainly wouldn't have prevented it with their deregulation of the banks. Also Brown DID save for a rainy day. Right up until 2007 he had year on year reduced the deficit left him by the Tories and still managed to invest a massive amount into public services and support for the economy.

    What Brown has shown is considerable skill and leadership in turning round the global and UK crisis. His model of spending our way out of recession was copied by most countries. In common with most countries we have had to borrow much more than you normally would, but this is a better option than the Tories plan which was to cut spending.

    This still is the choice. Today's growth figures are not as bad as they look, given our bad winter, but the recovery is too fragile to stand Cameron's early cuts. Cuts will have to come eventually. The increase of NI will come next year after the recovery is well established. It is an essential method of raising revenue to protect the NHS. A sensible chancellor like Darling will in his November pre-budget report decide whether growth is as expected and review the wisdom of a NI increase at that time.

    I am also concerned that both Clegg's and Cameron's manifestos have not been properly costed. The efficiency savings may not be there to be made, because Brown has already squeezed efficiency savings out this year. Also, as Brown highlighted last night the Tories have left important expenditures out of their list. eg pensioner's benefits. Their existing spending plans don't add up let alone the costs they are conceding that they have missed out.

 

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