Chancellor George Osborne has argued the UK economy “is turning a corner” thanks to the Government’s commitment to austerity.
Speaking before academics, think tanks and businesses in London today, Osborne highlighted the improvement in economic data over recent months and claimed this has “decisively ended” questions over his austerity-based economic policy.
Osborne said: “The economic collapse was even worse than we thought. Repairing it will take even longer than we hoped. But we held our nerve when many told us to abandon our plan. And as a result, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner.”
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013, while business surveys such as Markit’s purchasing managers’ indices suggested further strengthening in activity in the third quarter.
However, Osborne conceded the UK’s recovery is by no means assured.
“Of course, many risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we mustn’t go back to square one. We mustn’t lose what the British people have achieved.
“This is a hard, difficult road we have been following. But it is the only way to deliver a sustained, lasting improvement in the living standards of the British people.”
The coalition has consistently cut Government departments’ budgets and lifted taxes since 2010 in an austerity package designed to bring down the country’s public debt. However, critics have called for a “Plan B” that aims to encourage growth by lifting spending.
Osborne said: “In my view the last few months have decisively ended this controversy. Those in favour of a Plan B have lost the argument.
“The pace of fiscal consolidation has not changed, government spending cuts have continued as planned, and yet growth has accelerated and many of the leading economic indicators show activity rising faster than at any time since the 1990s.”