Labour's Economic Crimes, by Cameron; David Cameron Yesterday

Daily Mail (London), December 10, 2008 | Go to article overview

Labour's Economic Crimes, by Cameron; David Cameron Yesterday


Byline: Benedict Brogan

GORDON Brown's 'economic crimes' have left Britain with 'Italian levels' of debt that will take generations to repay, David Cameron claimed yesterday.

In a stinging attack on the Prime Minister's economic recovery plan, he claimed the [pounds sterling]20billion tax giveaway announced last week was 'reckless' and unaffordable.

The Tory leader raised the stakes by calling for an immediate General Election to put the country on 'a different path' - a suggestion that was promptly dismissed by Downing Street.

He said: 'I am desperately worried that this Government is leaving the country in so much debt that in future generations we are going to have the public finances of Italy, and we are going to be paying this off for generations.' While Mr Brown plans to push Britain's debt above [pounds sterling]1trillion, or nearly 60 per cent of national income, Italy owes [pounds sterling]1.4 trillion - 104 per cent of GDP.

To underscore his attack, Mr Cameron's office circulated figures that show the City believes Britain is now at a greater risk of default than the fastfood chain McDonald's.

The Tory leader abandoned all pretence of cross-party co-operation on the economy by calling for an 'urgent' slowdown in public spending growth to help balance the books.

He confirmed that the Tories would give voters a 'profound and clear choice' at the next election by slamming the brakes on spending from 2010.

A week after Alistair Darling said public spending growth would be cut back further than planned to just 1.2 per cent a year from 2011, Mr Cameron said the Tories would go even further.

But he stopped short of revealing what programmes he would scrap or where he would make economies to rein in government debt..

The Chancellor's plans will mean a [pounds sterling]37billion reduction in cash for public services, which means the Tories are now committed to find even bigger savings.

Mr Brown has bet his political survival on a package of short-term tax breaks paid for by long-term tax rises and record borrowing.

But Mr Cameron said they risked devastating harm to the country.

He dismissed last week's Pre-Budget Report as 'staggering economic incompetence' and 'useless'.

Speaking at the London School of Economics, Mr Cameron said: 'These Labour politicians have been found out and just as before they will be punished for a generation for their economic crimes.' Mr Cameron said reducing the relentless growth in public spending now would spare voters the pain of the tax rises planned by Mr

Brown that come into force in 2010.

He said Mr Brown's willingness to let both debt and deficit levels rocket has led the markets to mark down Britain's risk rating.

He pointed to figures that show the cost of insuring Britain's debt against default has rocketed since last month and is now substantially higher than that for insuring the debts of McDonald's. …

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