The Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne has pointed the finger of blame at Gordon Brown as inflation in Britain soars to a new 11 year high.
He says with the rising cost of living taking its toll on working families, it is not surprising that the chancellor wanted to escape the Treasury
“before his chickens come home to roost”.
Osborne was commenting following the publication of new official statistics showing that inflation rose to 3% in December, up from 2.7% in November, and the highest rate for 11 years.
It is almost double the 1.6% rate Brown inherited in 1997.
At the same time, the retail price index, which includes mortgage interest
payments, increased to 4.4% in December – up from 3.9% in the previous month – which is its highest level since 1991.
The Office for National Statistics attributed the rise to increased transport costs, including petrol prices and the fuel duty increase announced by Brown in his pre-Budget report in early December.
The rise in the cost of living comes just days after the Bank of England increased the base interest rate to 5.25% , triggering moves by the banks and building societies to scrap fixed-rate mortgage deals.
Osborne says: “Today we discover that official inflation in Britain is double what it is in the rest of the world, and double what it was when Brown took office.
“What’s worse is that the cost of living is rising even faster for millions of working families.”
“Britain is now suffering from the triple blow of rising inflation, rising interest rates and rising unemployment.
No wonder the chancellor wants to escape the treasury before his chickens come home to roost.”
Osborne also argues that had Brown not changed his inflation
measures – to remove housing costs and Council Tax from the calculation –
the governor of the Bank of England would have been required to write a
formal letter of explanation to the chancellor.
With UK inflation higher than other OECD countries, Osborne insists that Brown’s economic policy is part of the problem, because higher-than-planned government borrowing has added to inflationary
pressures, discrediting the chancellor’s own fiscal rules.