Thursday, 8 April 2010

National Insurance Row : Part II

Labour's big beasts launched its fightback against the NI row, the issues that has dominated the first skirmishes of the campaign. The Prime Minister Gordon Brown, First Sectary of State Lord Mandelson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alastair Darling, held Labour's
first press conference of the 2010 campaign, it was dominated
by the NI row and the economy as a whole.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “My aim is to secure the recovery and not put it at risk. Yesterday, the OECD reported that the UK is seeing one of the most robust returns to growth in the developed world. But they also set out that the recovery is fragile..That’s why it’s so important to make the right decisions now...Get the big decisions wrong now, and we will be paying the price for years to come.

“The Conservatives want to change course. And they base this on the flimsy four page press release they issued the other week. They are not just basing a pre-election tax giveaway on these four pages, but their plans for recovery, their plans for public services and their plans for deficit reduction.

“What the people of our country need to ask themselves is this: do you really want to gamble your economic future on the back of an envelope set of calculations like this?

First Sectary Lord Mandelson said: “In January, David Cameron said that the Conservatives would “tear up” the Government’s spending plans this year, and that it would be “moral cowardice” not to.

“Then, alarmed by the reaction to their proposals, the Conservatives said they’d cut just a bit – maybe £1bn or so.

“Now, at the start of this campaign they have zig-zagged again and ended up at a position where their entire economic strategy depends on the claim that they can find an extra £12bn in efficiency savings – this year, just like that – on top of what the Government is already doing.

“It is a plan with the strength of a house of cards.”

The Chancellor Alastair Darling said: “What’s clear is that having spent the last year saying that cutting the deficit was their number one priority, the Tories have thrown caution to the wind and gone for broke.

“And the way they’re going no-one will be surprised if, in the coming days, these fantasy savings will be used again and again to bail out further Tory tax and spending promises.

“If I had announced such an uncosted giveaway in my Budget two weeks ago but was unable to show exactly how I’d pay for it, people would rightly say the plan wasn’t credible.

“And that’s the point. George Osborne and David Cameron are guilty of reckless opportunism.
“George Osborne wants to be Chancellor in four weeks time. What he’s proposed simply isn’t believable. He’s risking the public finances, and the economy, and the country would pay a heavy price.”