Danny Alexander: ‘There will be no triple-dip recession’

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BRITAIN is not at risk of plunging into a triple-dip recession, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has insisted.

He was forced to defend the coalition’s performance after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast the economy was set to shrink in the final three months of 2012.

In an appearance on the The Andrew Marr Show, alongside pop star Geri Halliwell – a supporter of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher who has also appeared in Labour election broadcasts – Mr Alexander predicted “steady growth” in 2013 would see the UK avoid another recession.

He admitted the road to economic recovery was proving “longer and harder” than expected, but said progress had been made and would continue next year.

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor Ed Balls declined to promise that a Labour government would reintroduce a top rate of tax of 50p if it won the next general election.

Asked if he would restore the top rate, he said: “If there was an election called today, where we had a manifesto tomorrow for an election in three years’ time, we would reverse the top-rate tax cut.

“What I can’t do is say to you in two years’ time what we’ll do, because it is not responsible of me to start making promises on taxes or benefits, and it all depends on how bad George Osborne’s economic management is in the meantime.”