By Tim Montgomerie
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Yesterday Conservative HQ issued a dossier highlighting Ed Miliband's "52 weeks of weakness". Today it's Ed Balls who is the target for the Tory research department. Based on a 24 page analysis of the spending and tax announcements made by Labour since the two Eds took charge, the CCHQ analysis makes the following conclusions:
- Balls' Plan B would… "Increase the deficit by £87 billion per year by 2015 compared to the Government’s plans;
- Increase the National Debt by £5,000 for every man, woman and child in Britain;
- Increase debt interest payments by £16 billion per year – or £500 for every taxpayer; and
- Only reduce the deficit by a third over four years – not halve it over four years as Ed Balls has promised."
The reason is simple. Labour has opposed every single deficit reduction measure enacted or proposed by the Coalition. They have opposed every tough decision on welfare, the educational maintenance allowance or police budgets. Labour has also added more borrowing including an unfunded cut in VAT.
Ed Miliband delivered a confident performance on this morning's Marr programme. He's right to say that the Coalition isn't doing enough to boost growth (see yesterday's ToryDiary) but his deficit denial would make matters worse. Britain would pay higher interest rates in global markets if investors didn't think the government had a credible plan to restore sanity to the nation's public finances.
Deficit denial isn't just bad economics it's socially unjust. Interest payments would soar by £16 billion if we followed Ed Balls' prescription. That's £16 billion that would benefit Chinese banks and the other people bankrolling Britain. It would be money that wouldn't go into British schools or hospitals or pensions. Under Labour the British economy would be in much greater danger of the tax burden soaring to pay off our debts and businesses and the brightest young people fleeing these shores for countries where the tax burden was tolerable.
Lots of silly things are said in politics but the "Plan B for Bankruptcy" catchphrase is no exaggeration. Osborne is barely doing enough to fix the UK economy. Balls would carry on where Brown left off and plunge this country deeply into the red.