Poor old Ed Balls. He’s been making predictions of doom that now appear to have gone too far and too fast. The latest blow to the Shadow Chancellor is that the IMF, which he went through a period of definitely liking a lot when its lieutenants started suggesting that austerity was ‘playing with fire’, has upgraded its growth forecasts for the UK by more than any other major economy. This map from the organisation’s latest World Economic Outlook illustrates rather neatly how well the IMF expects the UK to do in comparison to other European economies.
Obviously this doesn’t mean that everything is fine and dandy and that everyone in the UK can enjoy golden sunlit uplands from now on. Balls is certainly one who isn’t skipping through meadows of flowers with joy at the news. He managed to find plenty that was bad in the IMF’s report, conceding that ‘after three wasted years of flatlining it’s good that we finally have some growth’. He added that this is the slowest recovery for 100 years, and that ‘despite these welcome changes to its forecasts the IMF rightly warns that the UK economy will remain below potential for many years’.
Balls wants to talk about the speed of the recovery, but George Osborne wanted to remind voters this afternoon that they should stick by him to solve the ongoing problems. He told BBC News:
‘I think the overwhelming majority of people now realise Britain was right to tackle its debts, right to hold its nerve and stick with the economic plan – we can see jobs being created in our economy, but, of course, we’ve still got a long way to go.’
This is the bid that the Tories made at their conference and will keep making: you might not feel that things are going any better, but why would you trust that lot in Labour to fix it for you? Reminding voters that Ed Balls has been a prophet of doom whose predictions don’t hold true will add to the sense that Labour just isn’t credible.Tags: Economy, Ed Balls, George Osborne, IMF, UK politics