For a Prime Minster who promised to 'get the economy moving again' today's GDP figures must be deeply worrying. They reveal growth of just 0.2% in the second quarter of 2011.
Today we've heard the additional bank holiday due to the royal wedding, the wedding itself and the warm weather in April all being held up as reasons for this poor performance. Not so long ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer came to the House of Commons and blamed the winter snow for Britain's shock plunge into negative growth at the end of 2010.
We've had a multitude of excuses from this government but its time they accepted that their decision to increase VAT coupled with cuts that go further and faster than any major economy has resulted in the economy flat lining since the autumn.
Today's results mean that we are now 0.6% behind achieving the latest OBR growth forecast for 2011 and that has already been downgraded three times.
When Labour left office recovery had begun, growth was 1.8% in the second and third quarters of 2010 ahead of the EU average and the USA. Last spring we were turning the corner, but now thanks to the choices the Chancellor made last year, things have taken a turn for the worse.
I've long said that the Tory economic approach is a dangerous experiment with people's jobs and prosperity and the evidence shows the economy has been faltering over the last nine months.
Yet the Chancellor's astonishingly complacent response to today's GDP figures suggests he plans to carry on regardless of the evidence, clutching at excuses and refusing to accept that his plan is not working.
We warned the Chancellor last year that the VAT rise and spending review risked choking off the economic recovery and would deliver the slower growth and higher unemployment that we are now seeing.
It is not too late for the Chancellor. He can change course and consider a 'Plan B'. He should follow Labour's call for a temporary VAT cut to help get our economy moving again. Even the IMF and the Federation of Small Businesses have called for temporary tax cuts if the slow growth persists.
The Chancellor should also repeat last year's bank bonus tax and used the money raised to support the jobs and growth that Britain badly needs. £2billion could be raised from repeating the bank bonus tax which would help create over 100,000 new jobs, pay for the construction of 25,000 new homes and boost the Regional Growth Fund.
It's time for George Osborne to forget the dogma, admit his mistakes and take notice of the warning signs around him. It's time for an alternative that puts jobs and growth first and gets Britain's economic recovery firmly back on track.
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