Ham­mond blasted as he claims Bri­tain is boom­ing

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW GRE­GORY Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor an­drew.gre­gory@mir­

LABOUR has slammed Philip Ham­mond af­ter he boasted of a boom­ing econ­omy in the face of the pub­lic sec­tor fund­ing cri­sis.

The at­tack came as the Chan­cel­lor yes­ter­day un­veiled up­graded pro­jec­tions for growth and pre­dicted fall­ing in­fla­tion and bor­row­ing.

He claimed there was “light at the end of the tun­nel” in his Spring State­ment, then joked about Labour be­ing pes­simistic as he re­jected their calls to use the ex­tra cash from an un­ex­pected boost in tax re­ceipts to ease the spend­ing squeeze.

Mr Ham­mond blasted his op­po­nents for talk­ing down the econ­omy, com­par­ing them to a gloomy char­ac­ter from Win­nie-the-Pooh.

He said: “I re­ject the party op­po­site’s doom and gloom… If there are any Eey­ores in the cham­ber they are over there.

“I mean­while am at my most pos­i­tively Tigger-like to­day, as I con­tem­plate a coun­try which faces the fu­ture with unique strengths.”

Shadow Chan­cel­lor John McDon­nell did not share his op­ti­mism.

He said: “We face – in ev­ery pub­lic ser­vice – a cri­sis on a scale we’ve never seen be­fore.

“Hasn’t he lis­tened to the doc­tors and nurses, the teach­ers, the po­lice of­fi­cers, the car­ers and even his own coun­cil­lors? They’re telling him they can’t wait for the next Bud­get. They’re telling him to act now. For eight years they’ve been ig­nored by this gov­ern­ment. And to­day they’ve been ig­nored again.”

Mr McDon­nell added: “Aus­ter­ity was a po­lit­i­cal choice not an eco­nomic ne­ces­sity. We were never all in this to­gether as they claimed.”

Labour MP Chris El­more pointed out there are six mil­lion peo­ple on less than the liv­ing wage and a mil­lion on zero-hours con­tracts. Mr Ham­mond up­graded the growth pro­jec­tion for this year but down­graded it for 2021 and for 2022, when the next elec­tion is due. He boasted of fall­ing debt as a share of eco­nomic earn­ings, and £4.5bil­lion less bor­row­ing this year than fore­cast. But he did not in­clude bor­row­ing fig­ures for the next four years. In­sti­tute for Fis­cal Stud­ies boss Paul John­son warned growth fore­casts were “dread­ful” com­pared with those in March 2016 and in most of the rest of the world.

I re­ject the party op­po­site’s doom and gloom.. If there are any Eey­ores in the House they are over there PHILIP HAM­MOND YES­TER­DAY

AT­TACK John McDon­nell

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