Andrew Smith MP

On your side in Oxford East

The Issue: The economy

OXFORD_MAIL_2013.jpg"Halfway through its term, is the coalition delivering the medicine the economy needs?"

No: Britain's economy is flat and now we seem to be heading for a triple-dip recession, with the slowest economic recovery for a century. George Osborne can blame the weather all he likes. Only he could make Britain's economy so weak we go into recession every time it snows!

This shambolic Government has failed to help hard-working people who are finding things hard.
They have failed on growth and jobs; the cost of living is soaring, with prices going up faster than wages -- just look what has happened to fuel costs, bus and rail fares. The economy went in to double-dip recession on their watch; and the benefits bill is set to soar by £13.6 billion higher than forecast. All of this means that they are having to borrow more than they planned to pay for their own failure, while people who are not finding it easy to make ends meet pick up the bill.

I don't claim it's all bad. For example, we are fortunate in Oxford to have success stories like the Cowley Mini plant, but its achievement is down to the quality of the model in world markets, the efforts and skills of the workforce and Labour 's car scrappage scheme, which was a real help to the plant.

At the Autumn Statement George Osborne tried to claim he was targeting "scroungers", but that quickly unravelled when it became clear that his changes are actually going to hit mainly people who are already in work, as well as those who simply can't find jobs.

What's more, their failure extends far beyond the economy. They are pushing through a massive, wasteful upheaval of the NHS whilst almost 7,000 nurses have been axed and more people wait longer in A&E; 15,000 police are set to go by the next election despite their promises to protect the frontline; house building starts have fallen; and Sure Start Centres are closing. This is the price we are all paying for Tory and Lib-Dem failure.

Labour's proposal to tax bankers' bonuses to accelerate house building would both meet urgent housing need and generate jobs in the construction industry. But this Government prefers to cancel the bankers' bonus tax, and deliver a tax cut of £107,500 each to 8,000 millionaires. These are difficult economic times but recovery is a matter of choosing the right priorities. This Tory-Lib Dem Government has consistently chosen the wrong ones.

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