So, what will 2011 bring? Looking back, Britain has just come through the biggest economic crisis for generations, a global crisis caused by irresponsible behaviour by the banks. But because of Labour’s decisive action, the worst of the crisis passed and the new Government inherited an economy in which growth had returned, borrowing was falling and the impact of the recession had been less severe than many expected.
It is no accident, therefore, that this year has seen some positive news on jobs and the economy, as our policies took effect, but recent forecasts make for very grim reading as economists project the effects of this Tory-led Government’s policies. The deficit was unavoidable, but Government’s austerity programme is avoidable. No major economy in the world is cutting their deficit at this reckless pace, which is a gamble with growth and jobs. Every job lost is a personal and family tragedy, but also for every 100,000 added to the dole queue it costs the taxpayer half a billion pounds in benefits alone. Any plan for reducing borrowing should have growth at its core; the Government should think again about the consequences of hitting the economy with a £13 billion VAT rise and £20 billion of spending cuts. If only they would listen, 2011 could be better.