Autumn Statement: Byrne Claims Government Has "Drained The Life Out Of This Economy"

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Labour has accused the Government of "fundamentally failing" on Britain's economic recovery, claiming Chancellor George Osborne had "drained the life out of this economy".

Shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Liam Byrne told MPs the Government was now set to put on the national credit card an extra £158 billion more than planned a year ago - £6,500 for every house in the country.

With predicted rising unemployment, he said, it was now "back to the economics of you are on your own" while young people were paying a "brutal price" for the Government's "failure" to get individuals back to work.

Speaking during an Opposition day debate on the impact of Government policies on living standards, Mr Byrne said: "We can now see the true extent to which this Chancellor has drained the life out of this economy and this recovery.

"We can now see how this Government is fundamentally failing to get our economy back on the move, and we can now see how this Government demands of working people, of parents and children, that it is them that should pay the price of this Government's economic failure."

Long-term unemployment among the over-50s, he said, was up 20% since the start of the year, adding that people who had worked hard over their lives deserved better than to be "thrown on the scrap heap".

Earnings, he said, were set to fall across the rest of the Parliament, with wages by 2016 no higher than in 2001, yet prices were going up.

He said: "We now have a situation where wages are falling and prices are going up and this double whammy is now hurting families all over this country."

Labour's motion states that "this House believes that the Government is out of touch and does not understand the impact of its policies, including the Autumn Statement, on children, parents, women, and hard-working families; and further believes that these policies have resulted in a squeeze on households' living standards."

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