Economic arguments have only just begun

George Osborne The Conservatives believe they have won the argument over austerity

For a long, long time George Osborne used to say he'd be the last to call the recovery. Today he decided he'd waited long enough.

This most political of chancellors also used a speech which was long on economic analysis to make an argument about the past, an argument about the present and an argument about the future too.

He began by saying, in effect: "I told you so" - higher than predicted growth now proved, he claimed, that the cuts did not strangle the recovery as Labour had said they would.

Next he insisted that the recovery was not based on "the wrong sort of growth" - that is, a return to spiralling house prices and consumer debt.

Finally he argued that it was only by sticking to current economic policies that living standards will be raised.

With many families still facing a squeeze in their living standards, Labour argue that talk of recovery rings hollow.

The Conservatives believe they have won the argument about the need for austerity - in the past.

Their fear is that in future voters may not accept that current policies need to be maintained and may, instead, be wooed by opposition promises to curb price rises, spread the introduction of the so-called "living wage" or to outlaw the abuse of zero-hours contracts.

In other words the arrival of a long-awaited recovery means that the political argument about the economy is not over. It has only just begun.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

Russia: how tough a response?

Will David Cameron's rhetoric about punishing Russia in the wake of the MH17 plane crash be matched by reality?

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world

  • Ed Miliband takes a selfie at a Cambridge hairdressersNo more photo ops?

    Why is Ed Miliband drawing attention to his public image?

  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Glasgow 2014 quaichs and medalsQuaich guide

    What do the Scottish gifts given to Games medallists symbolise?

  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it for three planes to crash in eight days?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.