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 151.

    The canal turn, and there have been lots of fallers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    They say numbers don’t lie,

    You would hater to refute what is evidently showing that this great Nations is back from its melancholies

    On behalf of most people her, allow me to thank the Tories for the great well job done.

    George Osborne one word describes you in most people here ‘legend’

    Thank you

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Wow! The lefties are out in force this afternoon. Miliband & Balls' strategy for the next election already looks like - stick your fingers in your ears, hum to yourself while economic data is announced and then say it's all lies. To be fair to Labour, what else can they do, admit they were wrong!

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    If, and it's a big 'if'. the economy is recovering, it's despite Osbournes policies not because of them. I say 'if' because a) the govt and its cronies figures are not to be trusted, and b) our economic prospects tend be focused purely on London and the SE. There is precious little sign of any corner being turned in the NW. The opposite in fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    Turned a corner......into a cul-de-sac

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    You can always trust the Conservatives on the economy and that is most important thing at the end of the day, things might not be easy at the moment but at least the economy is moving in the right direction, employment is at a record HIGH, there is growth in all sectors, the deficit is down. It's early days but Labour's disastrous mess is beginning to be cleared up, all be it slowly

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    woo the sacrifice of 95% of the people in this country has given him and his mates a bit of a boost so they can buy the extra yacht they absolutely must have for this season darling.

    our lot will never ever improve with this bunch of tory toffs in charge, they don't care about us and they never will, all that's important is placating corporations enough to get those juicy board positions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    'UK economy is turning corner, George Osborne says'.

    That'll be why the small market town where I live, population aprox 3000, has just oppened its second food bank collection point.

    Well done George!

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    We've never had it so bad, and that idiot Osborne's main aim is to tell us the Earth is flat.
    How, Why the hell do we allow these cretins to make fools of us all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    I am one of those who hasn't had a pay rise since the start of the recession. In fact, I've had a pay cut and taken on extra responsibilities, so I am paid less now and do more than in 2007. But even I can see some signs that the economy is recovering, more orders, busier people and some sense of optimism - that the worst is over. George is right about that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    106 BRD - You are very lucky to be working still at 77... However, don't assume because there are those on here commenting that they spend all day doing just that - you are beginning to sound like a Daily Mail reader or a Tory voter - maybe one and the same... don't be so judgemental. We can't live and breath the dole office 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Do you want to give up your job to someone

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    @44. clive
    The problems caused by this government are ugly, a peasant class.

    We could be brave and write a new wikipedia page for our children and grand children to read

    One that isn't corrupted and diluted to the point it may as well have never happened. We need to remind them that it did, it can, it will if they treat us like this

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    Yep, it's a great time to be a wealthy, posh, Home Counties white man who has had rich parents to fall back on.

    The same sort (female version) I met at a group dinner a couple of years back. She said poor people should not be allowed to go to university as it meant less opportunities for people like her. She accused me of being selfish by having a student loan. "Daddy" had paid for her fees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    90% of us are 5%- 15% or more worse off and 10% of us are 5% -15% or more better off.
    Yep we've turned a corner, it's one step closer to the old Victorian workhouses to serve our lords and masters.
    Tips forelock Squire!

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    My savings that are earning MINUS 2.75% (factoring in inflation) will be delighted to hear that George...

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    So the economy is starting to improve just in time for all the Romanians and Hungarians that are coming over next year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    FACTS-structural debt rising rate of £120bn pa under Osborne. Economy still 3% below 2010 terms of growth. 1m private sector jobs claimed created largely part time/zero hours.Deficit been reduced slightly is now rising again. Growth there is is due to hot summer,better than expected Eurozone performance.Balance of trade gap is growing.London is hot-spot the rest probably in recession. GO deluded

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.


    And I most definitely did not collect £200.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    he can not be serious..........things may be looking up for the rich, but for the rest of us things have gone from bad to worse, with a widening gap between rich and poor, typical tory rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Jobs are still being lost, being replaced by "new" jobs paying around £7ph. Just what the ruling classes want, poverty for the masses.


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