Ed Balls MP, Labour’s shadow chancellor, responding to GDP figures for the third quarter of 2012, said:
“It’s good news that, with the help of the Olympics, Britain is finally out of the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War. Our economy desperately needs an injection of confidence. But this is no time for complacency and wishful thinking.
“Today’s figures show that underlying growth remains weak and that our economy is only just back to the same size as a year ago – twelve months of damaging flatlining which has seen borrowing rise in the first half of this year.
“And with living standards falling, more tax rises on the way, small business lending down and the eurozone still in crisis, it would be very unwise of David Cameron and George Osborne to just sit back, cross their fingers and hope for the best. The complacent thing to do now is simply to wait and hope things will get better. The cautious thing to do is to act now to secure and strengthen growth in our economy.
“Britain needs a plan to secure and sustain a strong economic recovery, including using funds from the 4G mobile spectrum auction to build 100,000 affordable homes, a temporary VAT cut and a bank bonus tax to fund jobs for young people out of work. We also need action to ease the squeeze for people on low and middle incomes, rather than a tax cut for millionaires. And we need long-term changes to make our economy stronger, including a long-term plan to rebuild our infrastructure and radical reform of the banks.
“In the two years since the spending review our economy has grown by just 0.6 per cent, compared to the 4.6 per cent George Osborne said his plan would deliver and growth of 3.4 per cent in the USA and 3.3 per cent in Germany. So the question for the coming months is whether and how we can catch up all the ground we have lost over the last two years and not keep falling behind as other countries move ahead.
“A one-off boost from the Olympics is welcome. But it is no substitute for a plan to secure and sustain the strong recovery that Britain desperately needs if we are to create jobs, get the deficit down and make people better off.”