Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Tories Should Shut Up on the Economy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Tories Should Shut Up on the Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Hilton city comment

IT takes nerve for a political party to ask the country to re-elect it on the basis of its economic competence, when it knows perfectly well that the majority of the people it is asking to vote have become worse off under its rule.

Yet that is what the Conservatives plan to do and the success or otherwise of the strategy when we are asked to vote in two months' time hinges on voters believing that the Conservatives' have a long-term economic plan and that it is succeeding.

No doubt they will marshal lots of impressive statistics to support their argument. However, it certainly won't help their case that the independent and highly respected think tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has published a report today which shows that average incomes in this country are lower now in some cases, significantly so than they were when the Government came to power in 2010.

It is not just the Conservative's political opponents who might wonder what if making the country poorer counts as success failure would look like.

The IFS says that average incomes today are still 2% below the peak they hit in 2010-11. They are in fact back at levels which prevailed in 2007 before the crisis struck, but as incomes continued to rise for the first three years of the crisis from 2007 to 2010, while Labour was still in power, they today still fall short of the levels they'd reached at the time of the last election.

But, in fact, the overall picture for people of working age is worse than that because the average figures include a lot of people over 60 who have done relatively well. Take them out of the equation and you find that the median income for young adults those between 21 and 30 is estimated to be 7.6% lower today than in 2007. The median income of those aged 31 to 59 is 2. …

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