Proof Labour is unfit to run the economy



00:33 GMT, 7 December 2012

With awesome predictability, Ed Balls – whose catastrophic performance the day before was one of the political own goals of the year – took to the airwaves yesterday to denounce the cancerous ‘unfairness’ of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.

He was particularly keen to savage the Chancellor’s decision to peg welfare rises at 1 per cent for three years – a policy designed to save 4.2billion and end the perversity of benefits for the unemployed rising faster than wages.

Yes, we regret those drawing in-work benefits will suffer. As a paper which champions the family, we particularly sympathise with those on maternity pay who will receive below-inflation rises, too.

Balls wants fiscal credibility but refuses to confront the tough choices required to achieve it

Balls wants fiscal credibility but refuses to confront the tough choices required to achieve it

But all social classes will suffer from Mr Osborne’s budget.

And the huge weakness in Mr Balls’ position is that he has no alternative plan to plug the black hole in the finances of a nation which, according to the IFS, needs to find an extra 27billion to balance its books, even after the Autumn Statement has been implemented.

Nor was the Shadow Chancellor – given the usual easy ride by the BBC – honest enough to say if Labour, the party that landed us in the economic morass, will vote against the 1 per cent rise in benefits when MPs debate it next year.

Oh yes, Bruiser Balls wants fiscal credibility but refuses to confront the tough choices required to achieve it.

Contrast him to Mr Osborne who is to be commended for having the courage of his convictions. The Mail urges him to go further. If the IFS is correct about the 27billion black hole, the Chancellor will need to make further deep cuts in public spending to fully rebalance the economy in favour of the private sector.

We also commend him for effectively introducing regional pay bargaining in the teaching world. If extended to other areas of the public sector, an end to national pay bargaining could provide a huge incentive for businesses to move to areas of high unemployment.

To the Tories’ credit, they understand this country cannot keep living on borrowed money.

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Mr Balls and Labour have confirmed this week that they are not fit guardians of a British economy they comprehensively wrecked. Back in power, they would make the same ruinous mistakes all over again.

Chilling stupidity

Greg Barker, the junior minister for climate change, says the UK will ‘pay the price in British lives’ if we don’t spend 2billion of aid money on building windmills in the Third World.

What tosh. His half-baked logic is that, if poor countries do not have green energy, they will become ‘unstable’ and foment terrorism.

With tens of thousands of elderly Britons expected to die of hypothermia this winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes, Mr Barker should stop his preposterous PC-posturing and redirect the aid to the real energy crisis at home.

Salmond caught out

In a desperate bid to win over a sceptical public, Alex Salmond insisted that – if Scotland votes for independence in 2014 – it would be free to take a place at the heart of the European Union.

Yesterday, a letter from the European Commission revealed that, in fact, Scots would have to re-apply for membership with zero guarantee of success.

This paper is pleased another nail has been hammered into the coffin of Mr Salmond’s plan to dissolve the most mutually beneficial union in history.

PS: Forgive the Mail for wondering what would happen if the UK as a whole had the option of leaving the EU and deciding whether to reapply for membership…