Blow to Tories’ campaign as economy slows

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Picture: AP
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Picture: AP
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A SLOWDOWN in growth in the UK economy has provided a blow to Conservative claims that it is the best stewards of the economy.

With 10 days to go before the election, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has announced that the economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of the year compared to 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2014.

Today is a reminder that you can’t take the recovery for granted and the future of our economy is on the ballot paper at this election

George Osborne

However, the ONS said the economy was 2.4 per cent larger than the same period a year earlier and it remains the fastest growing economy in the G7.

The fall is mainly accounted for by a 1.6 per cent drop in construction at the beginning of 2015 which had seen a 7.4 per cent rise in 2014.

Labour’s shadow Chancellor Ed Balls claimed that the figures showed that the “Tories don’t understand the UK succeeds when working people succeed.”

He said: “While the Tories have spent months patting themselves on the back these figures show they have not fixed the economy for working families.

“Working families can’t afford another five years of the Tories. Labour’s better plan will put working people first, make our economy stronger and ensure the recovery reaches everyone in every part of the country.”

However, Chancellor George Osborne insisted that the figures are good news.

He said: “It’s good news that the economy has continued to grow, but we have reached a critical moment.

“Today is a reminder that you can’t take the recovery for granted and the future of our economy is on the ballot paper at this election.

“With rising instability abroad, now is the worst possible time to vote for instability at home. Instead we should stick with the plan that is delivering a brighter and more secure future.”

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