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 311.

    If it all goes wrong by this time next year who will he blame for the failure of plan "A", I'll give you one guess but it will start with " We inherited ...... "

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Not sure where this is, inflation still high, unemployment at 4 million, it is only low interest rates which are keeping people in there houses.
    Balance of payments at record levels, ah but the bankers are doing ok so all is well.
    George and his like will be fine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Remember when politicians would give speeches to crowds of people, not crowds of media, when speeches were given on the fly, not arranged weeks ahead and someone shows up and sets up a podium and PA system so the audio can be perfect for TV...

    Remember when politicians spoke to you, not at you via a mouth piece media empire.

    :) better times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Things may be improving in London and the South East, but across the rest of the UK we are still stagnating. The coalition is a government for the London middle class and no-one else

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    We are all in it together.

    Tell me Georgie boy, has your standard of living dropped as much as everyone elses?

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Well done George!

    I always think the word "Idiot" is interesting. Do you agree?

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    More like HS2 fast track to disaster.

    Underpinning new economy & this turned corner, is the plight of millions who are forced into accepting salary degrading & poverty growing low paid jobs that add to already unsustainable in work tax credits & other taxpayer funded benefits.

    UK CANNOT survive the future if such growth continues, only way to survive would be massive cuts to NHS & everything

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    It depends on who you ask.
    Ask the Tories and they say it's looking good.
    Ask the young people without jobs, those queueing at foodbanks and those millions who don't earn enough to live on ...... and they're less convinced that George's brave new world is where they want to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    So Gideon makes his pompous speech today, which, one day he will regret. Sir Noel Coward explained all when he sang 'Bad Things are Just Around The Corner'

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    The difference between Germany and the UK is that Germany has a Physicist in charge and Physicists can count. Angela Merkel will know differential and integral calculus and also the meaning of exponential growth. She will know what a Joule is and can talk meaningfully about energy rather than twaddle. Frau Merkel undesratnds the laws by which the world works .... NATURES LAWS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    Is it just me or is there a sniff of revolution in the air? I'm personally fed up of career politicians lying time after time for their own self gain and promotion. Yes they may claim they listen to opinion but they don't hear what we're saying. Maybe removing these idiots and installing a common sense and fairness party should be given more serious consideration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    The corner that has been turned is playing out on beeb live text at the moment.
    How much should top execs get when they are laid off, who should pay and whose fault is it when they get paid too much?
    I think parliamentary committees and the execs are the wrong people to ask, but that is the way of the world.
    What a world for the rest of us?
    And we are not allowed to comment on it,????????

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    Sorry gideon, you are completely wrong. You and your fellow toffs may have seen an improvement, but the rest of us have not.

    Our debt is increasing.
    More people are being forced to work on zero hour contracts.
    The (true) unemployment is closer to 5milion.
    Inflation is going up but wages are not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    Course the economy turning a corner its been staggering around for the last three years.

    Wages are worth less now than when the ConDems came in. Unemployment is a lot higher than the official ones given out.
    If the economy does get better it will be nothing to do with Cameron's clowns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Watch out he has stolen all he can from the poor and is now targeting the middle class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    Well done George! It's such a tragedy that the knockers on here have such a terrible grasp of reality they'd actually vote for the other lot to send us all down the pan again and undo your good work. Still history shows a clear trend of socialism/vandalism followed by tory/repairs in a cycle. They'll never learn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    I want to know which 'corner' this is. Obviously not the one with closed shops, or food banks. Nay, this is a mythical beast that only the top one per cent can truly appreciate. Poor George, having to work for such unappreciative people. We all should be happy with our low wages and the housing bubble which is about to explode. Pour me a bubbly lemonade!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Send us more Aid in Africa then

    Send us money

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    Talk around it as much as you like, anyone who is currently working for a living knows that what mr.O is deluded. There is no upturn, in fact life & Job security for the average UK citizen is getting worse. It just shows how deluded the business community & Goverment are when a CBI fat cat tells the news that Zero working hours are good foer the economy. Time for an election i think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    Here we go again!' We're over the worst', house prices going up again -it all seems vaguely familiar! The problem is Mr Osborne you know it isn't real nor is it sustainable! House prices continue to rise not because of an upsurge of public confidence or some economical miracle, but because there simply isn't enough affordable housing to go round. And what of the Eurozone crisis? Complete silence!


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