UK economy is turning corner, George Osborne says


George Osborne: "There are still those calling for the government to abandon its economic plan... but to do so would be disastrous"

The UK economy is "turning a corner", Chancellor George Osborne has said in a speech in London.

Mr Osborne cited "tentative signs of a balanced, broad based and sustainable recovery", but stressed it was still the "early stages" and "plenty of risks" remained.

Mr Osborne said that recent months - which have seen more upbeat reports on the economy - had "decisively ended" questions about his economic policy.

Labour has dismissed the comments.

The speech comes ahead of the Conservative Party conference later this month, and after a number of forecasts and surveys pointed to an acceleration in the UK's economic recovery.

Revised gross domestic product figures showed the UK economy grew by 0.7% in the second quarter of the year, with predictions it could reach 1% for the third quarter.

And last week the OECD economic agency sharply increased its growth forecast for the UK economy this year to 1.5% from an earlier estimate of 0.8%.

The Conservatives' fear is that in future voters may not accept that current policies need to be maintained

Mr Osborne said: "The economic collapse was even worse than we thought. Repairing it will take even longer than we hoped.

"But we held our nerve when many told us to abandon our plan. And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner.

"Of course, many risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we mustn't go back to square one. We mustn't lose what the British people have achieved.

"This is a hard, difficult road we have been following. But it is the only way to deliver a sustained, lasting improvement in the living standards of the British people."

The government's "economic plan is the right response to Britain's macroeconomic imbalances and the evidence shows that it is working", he said, in his address to an audience of academics, think tanks and businesses.

Start Quote

Those in favour of a Plan B have lost the argument”

End Quote George Osborne

Mr Osborne said that those who advocated an alternative economic path could not explain recent improvements in the economic data.

And "the last few months have decisively ended" the idea that the scale and pace of his measures were to blame for much slower than projected growth over recent years, he added.

"Those in favour of a Plan B have lost the argument," he said.

Heeding calls to abandon the government's economic plan in order to spend and borrow more would have undermined the recovery and "would be disastrous" now, Mr Osborne said.

He pledged to remain "vigilant" to threats from abroad - including growing instability in the Middle East pushing up the oil price and a fresh eurozone crisis - as well as at home.

John Cridland, director-general of business lobby group CBI, said the economy was gathering some momentum, business confidence was rising and he expected growth to continue into next year.

"We have always said that deficit reduction should be at the top of the government's 'to-do list', but it must be coupled with an unrelenting focus on growth-boosting measures like infrastructure projects," he said.

'Rewrite history'

Start Quote

The chancellor isn't declaring victory on the recovery just yet - he's too careful for that. But he is declaring victory over Ed Balls”

End Quote

And he dismissed claims he was encouraging "the wrong sort of growth" - led by debt-fuelled consumer spending - insisting the evidence suggested "tentative signs of a balanced, broad based and sustainable recovery".

He said there were many tough decisions still to be taken and that "the only sustainable path to prosperity is to reject the old quick fixes and stick to the course we have set".

Labour accused Mr Osborne of "extraordinary complacency".

Opposition leader Ed Miliband told the BBC that the chancellor was "saying to people that he has saved the British economy at a time when, for ordinary families, life is getting worse".

"If ever you wanted proof that the government is out of touch with most people, that it is on the side of the few, George Osborne has provided it today," he added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Considering the number of times he has said this since he plunged us into recession, I’m surprised he hasn’t made a recording so he doesn’t have to keep on repeating this lie.

    People are not as stupid as he thinks we are, he sounds like a parrot in overdrive, we have heard it all before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Turning the corner?

    * Zero hours contracts
    * Low pay rife across the country
    * High streets barren
    * Record unemployment
    * Council cuts everywhere
    * Record number of families in B and B
    * Even the immigrants are moving out
    * Rip off culture, you cant trust any company

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    "The eighties were a great time to be British" Once spouted Dave.

    Yeah, if you weren't one of those for whom the entire Decade was a recession.

    The same is happening here... those at the top are smiling again, while those at the bottom are bracing for another 3-4 years of pain. And remember, many of the cuts have barely begun!

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Things may be improving (or they may not) but what George has to do with it is debatable. Perhaps it couldn't get any worse. Perhaps it's a dead cat bounce. Perhaps people are spending their savings on things that really, really, do now have to be replaced or fall apart.
    Bottom line, I'm pretty sure the minority are richer, and the majority are not

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    You should comment after the economy has "turned the corner" it might not complete the "turn" George. This is self-congratulatory. Economics is an inexact science George. Things are not as clear-cut as you want us to believe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Why I and many other people don't see it? Or are we some senseless , dumb blind!

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Yes, it has been a hard and difficult road for some of us, but not all. We must never forget that

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    We are certainly growing faster than the Eurozone and whilst hardly great it's in the right direction. As to 'lies' it's difficult to believe the stupidity of some people. Our figures are not produced in isolation. OECD, IMF & The World Bank all take more than a passing interest. Unfortunately some people will always be unemployed as they have no worthwhile skills to sell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    The "recovery" has as little to do with the UK gov as the crash. Have these guys no shame? It's all boloney. The global economic weather is just that -unpredictable, massive, so complex it's basically random. All we know is that there is a patch of sun over the UK right now. How long it will remain is anyone's guess, as is why it arrived. Economists are forever looking for explanations to the past

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    If improving is because Osbourne nicked Labour's ideas re a massive Keynesian state intervention (£130b Help to Buy new build housing sector) but in the wrong housing sector! Could create a housing bubble - the route cause of all the financial mess by the banks! Build a million council/affordable homes - meet chronic hosing need and help the real economy! Plus SCRAP THE BEDROO TAX!

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Turning the corner for who?

    Most people I knows are far worse off now than they was in 2010, and they are under no illusion that they will be getting poorer in the next couple of years.

    I think by "Turning the corner" Osborne is referring to a lot of people turning to pay day loan firms to survive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    I suspect any improvement in the economy is more despite Osborne's "Plan A" than because of it...

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Osborne said that???
    Sounds more like something Canute (no anagram) would say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I hope the economy is not getting better as it will encourage yet even more immigrants to come here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    muppet master 30
    what particular skilled jobs have you in mind & where in the country do you want them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Under Labour: I was refused job seekers after two years of struggling in temp jobs after the economy crumbled under them just as I left Uni.

    Under Conservatives: Found first one then another full time job and got a payrise.

    Have to say, the corner works for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    If we are saying that people are worse off now and had more money before the last election, where were they getting it from? The clue is in the word 'borrowing'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Doublespeak from a lying chancellor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Fraudulent claims

    A Government generated housing boom on the way just in time for the next election.

    Just as bad as Labour's spending on public pay increases & welfare

    Expect interest rates to rise rapidly after the next General Election to 5 or 6%

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    :) I turned a corner once.....

    and fell down a big hole...

    Lesson, corners are not always good.


Page 49 of 52


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