Cam calls for Plan A++
David Cameron has insisted the Government will not change course on its economic policy, despite the International Monetary Fund downgrading the UK’s growth forecast and a Tory backbencher saying the economy is “absolutely screwed”.
Mark Garnier, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, said at a fringe event at the Tory conference this afternoon: “The reason we have a low interest rate is because the economy is absolutely screwed."
His intervention comes after the IMF said it expected the UK economy to shrink by 0.4% this year having previously predicted 0.2% growth.
The fund's 2013 global growth estimate was downgraded to 3.6% from the 3.9% it forecast in July, with "considerable" risk of further slowdowns because the widespread underestimation of the negative impact of austerity.
But David Cameron rejected a change of course, telling Channel 4 News this evening that the UK did not need a "Plan B for borrowing", but a Plan A++.
"What we have is I think Plan B, where B stands for more borrowing, more spending, more debt – the things that got us into this mess in the first place, that’s not the right answer. What we need is what I call Plan A++," he said.
"Which is, you stick to the difficult decisions on public spending. We all know we’ve been living beyond our means, and it’s good the deficit is down by a quarter over the last two years, but we’ve got to add to that everything we can do to cut business taxes, to make is attractive to invest, to reform the planning system so it’s easier to build, to make sure we prioritise infrastructure, to make it easier to employ people, to link Britain to the fastest growing parts of the world. All those things we’re doing."
There was yet more bad news for the economy today, as the Office for National Statistics' Index of Production for August 2012 showed a 0.5% reduction in UK production from July to August, and a 1.1% drop in manufacturing.