Labour has won a ringing endorsement from a normally critical independent think-tank that has hailed its economic record as 'first class'.
The Government's track record since 1997 has been 'extremely commendable', the National Institute of Economic and Social Research says today. It is also cutting its estimate of the structural deficit in the public finances by pounds 5bn, although it said taxes would have to rise by at least pounds 7bn after the election to prevent a breach of the fiscal rules.
Its comments came as Tony Blair refused to rule out an increase in corporate taxes if he won a third term in power next week.
In an assessment of economic performance over years of Labour rule, the institute said volatility of both inflation and growth had fallen relative both to past governments and other countries.
'Compared with major policy errors of the past, the fact that nothing has gone wrong is extremely commendable,' Martin Weale, its director, said. 'There is an element of luck but we have been more stable than other countries and there have not been …