On Friday, the Office for National Statistics announced that the economy grew by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter of this year. If sustained, that equates to a healthy annual rate of growth of over 3.2 per cent.
These figures show that the tough decisions this Government has made and the hard work of millions of people across the country are paying off - the deficit is falling and at the same time the economy is growing and unemployment is falling. Britain is on the path to recovery.
But we’re not out of the woods yet. The deficit may be falling, but it hasn’t gone away. It will take several more years to finish the job. And the global recovery is still fragile.
And what does the recovery tell us about the judgement of the people running the Labour Party? Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were at Gordon Brown’s side when he allowed the deficit to get out of control, failed to properly regulate our financial system, wrecked a pension system that was the envy of the world and sold off our gold reserves for a rock bottom price. They are partly to blame for the mess we’re in (though clearly the bankers who behaved so irresponsibly must take much of the blame) and they’re still in denial about that.
And now they’ve been proved wrong about how to deal with the mess too. Back in 2010, Ed Balls predicted the Government’s economic strategy would lead to a recession, rising unemployment rising and the deficit going up rather than down:
“The danger of too rapid deficit reduction is that it proves counter-productive: tipping us back into recession, unemployment rising and the deficit and debt getting worse into the medium-term...I believe their economic plan is a prescription for disaster” (Ed Balls, Bloomberg Speech, There is an alternative, 27 August 2010).
And Ed Miliband predicted that a million jobs would be lost:
“They have a programme that will clearly lead to the disappearance of…a million jobs” (Ed Miliband, CBI Conference Speech, 25 October 2010).
Even earlier this year, Ed Balls was claiming the recovery had been choked off:
“The overall impact is very critical of a Government plan which isn’t balanced, which is a drag on growth, which has choked off recovery in my view” (Ed Balls, BBC News, 22 May 2013).
They got it wrong when they were in government, they got it wrong about how to clear up the mess they helped to create and unbelievably they’re still arguing for more borrowing today. At the next Election, people are going to ask themselves: can we risk putting these people back in charge given their record?