UK Politics

Ed Balls: George Osborne's economic plan 'in tatters'

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Media captionEd Balls said the chancellor's economic and fiscal strategy ''is in tatters''

The shadow chancellor Ed Balls says George Osborne's economic plans have proved to be a "colossal failure".

Reacting to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, he said growth was "flatlining", unemployment rising and borrowing £158bn higher than planned.

"As a result, his economic and fiscal strategy is in tatters," Mr Balls said.

Amid noisy scenes in the House of Commons he declared: "After 18 months in office the verdict is in: Plan A has failed and it has failed colossally."

He said the "out of touch and complacent hubris" George Osborne had shown in last year's Budget had now been shown for what it was.

"We know the truth: cutting too far and too fast has backfired and every one of the chancellor's claims of a year ago have completely unravelled."

Even judged by the one target the chancellor had set himself - getting the deficit down - he was "failing" said Mr Balls.

"Compared to his plans of a year ago he is now planning to borrowing a staggering £158bn more."

The shadow chancellor said low interest rates represented stagnant growth and claimed Mr Osborne made "a catastrophic error of judgment" and failed to learn history's lessons.

Mr Balls attacked what he called a "cobbled-together package of growth measures which don't address the fundamental problem".

But Mr Osborne derided his opposite number.

"As far as I can tell the shadow chancellor complains that we are borrowing too much and then proposes that we borrow even more!" he said.

"There is not a single credible political party in the entirety of Europe that is proposing more spending apart from the Labour Party."

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