Budget 2011: Labour blames cuts for lower growth

Labour leader Ed Miliband: ''It's the same old Tories''

Labour leader Ed Miliband says the government has caused the UK economy's growth rate to fall by going "too far, too fast" in cutting spending.

In his response to Chancellor George Osborne's Budget, he said the coalition's policies were "hurting but not working".

The growth forecast was downgraded from 2.1% to 1.7% for this year and from 2.6% to 2.5% for 2012.

This was not "by chance" but because of "wrong" policies, Mr Miliband said.

He told MPs that "nobody voted" for the deficit reduction plan brought in by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Mr Osborne had said the measures he was unveiling in his first spring Budget would get the UK economy moving again.

During his hour-long statement, the chancellor scrapped Labour's fuel duty escalator and cut duty by a further 1p - paid for by a £2bn tax on oil companies.

But Mr Miliband said: "He's cut duty by 1p but he's whacked up VAT on fuel by 3%. Families won't be fooled. It's Del Boy economics."

Mr Miliband also said: "One fact says it all and he couldn't bring himself to say it: Growth down last year, this year and next year.

'Snooze button'

"It's the same old Tories. It's hurting, but it isn't working. Every time he comes to this House his growth forecast is downgraded.

He added: "It didn't happen by chance, it happened by choice. His choice - and it's the wrong choice - to go too far and too fast."

Mr Miliband also criticised Nick Clegg, saying: "Let's not forget these are not just the chancellor's decisions, these are not just the prime minister's decisions, they are the deputy prime minister's decisions too.

"He is an accomplice to the Tory plans. When it comes to the economy the man who coined the phrase 'alarm clock Britain' has the snooze button well and truly on.

"Nobody voted for this plan, least of all his Liberal Democrat voters - who were told in promise after promise he would never countenance it."

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