PMQs: Cameron accused of living in economic 'fantasy land'


Prime Minister David Cameron has dismissed claims from opposition leader by Ed Miliband that the government is "falling apart" and he is living in an economic "fantasy land".

On 13 March 2013, as Mr Cameron took questions in the Commons, the Labour leader said the cabinet had "lost confidence" in Chancellor George Osborne ahead of next week's Budget.

Following reports that the government is going to scrap a plan to impose minimum prices on alcoholic drinks, the Labour leader said: "Could the prime minister tell us, is there anything he could organise in a brewery?"

Mr Miliband told MPs that the PM had been "overruled" on minimum alcohol pricing by Home Secretary Theresa May.

He also criticised Mr Cameron's response to a letter from the chairman of fiscal watchdog the OBR, who had said, "we believe that fiscal consolidation measures have reduced economic growth over the past couple of years," apparently contradicting the PM's recent speech on the economy.

A Downing Street spokesman subsequently said the OBR had pinpointed "external inflation shocks, the eurozone and financial sector difficulties as the reasons why their forecasts have come in lower than expected... That is precisely the point the prime minister was underlining."

But the Labour leader said: "The prime minister is clearly living in a fantasy land. He wants us to believe that the head of the OBR wrote him an open letter the day after his speech because he enjoyed it so much."

Mr Miliband concluded: "Yesterday we learnt that industrial production is at the lowest level for 20 years. That sets alarm bells ringing for everyone else in this country, why doesn't it for the prime minister?"

But Mr Cameron argued that the Labour Party had nothing to offer voters but "debt, debt and more debt".

He also highlighted Mr Miliband's meetings with trade union leaders: "Dinosaur after dinosaur, dinner after dinner, they pay the money, they get the policies, but the country would end up paying the price."

"The point of the OBR is that it is independent and everyone should accept everything that it says, and I do," Mr Cameron said.

Mr Cameron said manufacturing as a share of GDP had collapsed under Labour and the Institute for Fiscal Studies had forecast that borrowing under Mr Miliband would be £200bn higher.

The previous Labour government had "trashed our economy, racked up the debts and nearly bankrupted the country", he said.

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