David Cameron seeking to win argument on growth

David Cameron David Cameron: A critical moment in the economic debate

The Coalition believed that it was winning the argument on deficit reduction, but fears it is in danger of losing the argument on growth.

That is the principal reason for the prime minister's speech today and his insistence that there is no choice between austerity (bad and found wanting) and growth (new and potent). So, David Cameron claims that deficit reduction and growth are NOT alternatives: indeed, he argues, delivering the first is vital to securing the second.

Labour, of course, agrees with the analysis that both are important but says the evidence shows that the way the government has been trying to cut the deficit - too far and too fast - is precisely why we're now in a double-dip recession and don't have any growth. In this they are echoing the electoral pitch of Francois Hollande who pledged to increase spending in France by 20 billion euros, to recruit 60,000 more teachers and reduce - not increase - the pension age.

The government - keen as they are to mend fences broken by David Cameron's snubbing of Hollande when he visited London - say that they're perfectly happy to work with the French to have growth-boosting EU measures providing they're not re-visiting the policies needed to cut deficits.

In other words, if Europe wants to come up with new funds for the European Investment Bank to invest in infrastructure; if it wants to marshal some of its so-called structural funds for a scheme for youth unemployment - all these things they're perfectly happy to consider in Whitehall, but what they want to make sure is that there's no reduction to the planned speed or the depth of deficit reduction.

That is the central argument in British politics. The reason David Cameron is waging this today is the anxiety that after the local elections and a series of defeats for European governments - ten eurozone governments have fallen since 2008 - that he could be next.

The reason Labour are so desperate to respond to it is they think this is their one moment where they might be about to win the argument on the economy.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    174 .Rocking Robin.
    "I have come to the conclusion that REd Miliband"..Oh dear.
    Seven words, that's as far as you could go before your brain switched off and your parent fed diatribe took over.
    When someone decides to sign off with a full stop.Then "FACT" at the end, then that is a sure indication that your Pearls of Wisdom are dependant on the next Kelvin Mckenzie/Richard Littlejohn tit bit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    JB 177/178

    Observation rather than sneer John. You really think my post a sneer compared to what came before?

    Disingenious is to compare 1979/1997/2010 as single years rather than more credibly looking at periods of government. Both Tory and Labour had long enough to leave our economy on sounder grounding and they both failed. So far Tory 2010-? isn't looking great either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    "At present any plan would probably be better than the current Tory one, which appears to be chuck stones at Europe"

    A rather disingenuous sneer Ginger. However, even if that was the plan, at least it gives the voters something to support or oppose, a blank piece of paper doesn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    "Tories quadruled our debt 1979-1997 while increasing public spending at just over 7% each year"

    Yet as a proportion of GDP spending went down, inferring a rate of growth that outstripped spending -opposite to Labour yrs. Plus, 1979, just as 2010 was in no way comparable to 1997, when Labour came to power. I'm puzzled why you believe that this is a credible comparison?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    There's nothing wrong with chucking things at Europe or the EU to be more accurate, though bloody great boulders would be my preference.

    Anyway, fear not, none of the main parties will give us a referendum. They will not even dare debate the issue.


Comments 5 of 180



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