The Tories were expecting Ed Balls to be a little grumpy today after the ONS’ latest figures showed the economy was growing at its fastest rate in three years. And the Shadow Chancellor didn’t sound his cheeriest when he popped up to respond. In his official response, Balls said:
‘After three damaging years of flatlining, it’s both welcome and long overdue that our economy is growing again. But for millions of people across the country still seeing prices rising faster than their wages this is no recovery at all.’
And on the World at One, he said:
‘For people who are seeing their living standards falling, being told that somehow it’s now turned and it’s going well, just jars with people’s own experience. I’m not predicting the worst, I’m saying it’s welcome that there is growth. We should have been back to that point two, three years ago.’
But wait – perhaps the man who had been predicting the worst and who is now watching Tories jump up and down on what they’ve decided is his grave isn’t the grumpiest man in Westminster today. Perhaps that crown should go to someone nominally in the Coalition, one Vince Cable. The Business Secretary, who has seemed increasingly agitated now that his dark mutterings about how things would have been better if only people had listened to him don’t seem quite so terrifying now.
Here is Cable’s official response to the GDP figures:
‘We’ve always said the road to recovery would be a marathon, not a sprint. There is still work to do to address the lack of bank lending to SMEs and driving exports up to a globally competitive level. But today’s figures are encouraging, especially for construction and manufacturing, which have been lagging. Taken alongside other indicators such as good employment figures and new businesses start-ups, they suggest that things are going in the right direction.’
The line ‘they suggest that things are going in the right direction’ is hardly the line, is it Vince? His colleagues are saying that the figures show ‘Britain’s hard work is paying off & the country is on the path to prosperity’ (George Osborne) and that they ‘are another sign we are turning a corner – building an economy #ForHardworkingPeople’ (David Cameron). Cable sounds a little less sure.
It’s an interesting Eeyorish strategy, because if Cable were in a more amenable, Tiggerish mood, he could have spun that the economy is recovering thanks to Plan A+ or Plan V or whatever he’d like to call it, given the increased spending on infrastructure.Tags: Economy, Ed Balls, Growth, UK politics, Vince Cable