Chris Leslie, the shadow Chancellor, has launched a scathing attack on “Corbynomics”, the anti-austerity agenda of the Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, warning it would hurt poor people the most.
In an interview with The Independent, Mr Leslie issued a wake-up call to Labour members to reject what he called a “starry-eyed, hard left” economic strategy, amid growing signs that Mr Corbyn could pull off a shock victory next month.
Mr Leslie claimed Mr Corbyn’s agenda would result in higher inflation and interest rates, ending in spending cuts which would persuade middle class people to opt out of public services and into private health and education.
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/4 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn readily admits he is only standing to ensure the left of the party is given a voice in a contest dominated by candidates promising to move the party towards the centre-ground of British politics
Profiles by Matt Dathan
2/4 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham is the current front-runner to win the leadership election according to bookmakers, but the fact that the Conservative party leadership hopes he wins shows the task that awaits if he is Ed Miliband’s successor. He will have to find a way of distancing himself from both the last five years under Mr Miliband and the Blair and Brown years, during which he served in the Cabinet
3/4 Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper will also face a battle in convincing voters she offers a sufficient break with the past, having served in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet and she played a key role in Mr Miliband’s team as shadow home secretary. The fact that her husband is Ed Balls will not have a negative impact internally but voters are not likely to look favourably on the prospect of Mr Miliband’s ousted shadow chancellor entering Downing Street if Ms Cooper wins in 2020
4/4 Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall faces criticism over her lack of experience – she was only elected in 2010 and has no experience of serving in government and wasn't even in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet. But that very lack of experience means she can make a pitch as the only candidate offering real change and a real break from the Blair/Brown/Miliband years
The shadow Chancellor rounded on Mr Corbyn’s proposal for “quantitative easing for people instead of banks.” He said: “Printing money and ending Bank of England independence would push up inflation, lending rates, squeeze out money for schools and hospitals and mean spending more on debt servicing. Higher inflation and a higher cost of living would hit those on the lowest incomes, the poorest people who couldn’t afford those goods and services. The very people we should be standing up for would pay the price – the poor and vulnerable.”
Mr Leslie, who is backing Yvette Cooper in Labour’s election, warned that Mr Corbyn’s plan to raise £120bn by tackling tax avoidance and evasion and reduce the £93bn spent on tax reliefs would not materialise, leaving a black hole in the public finances.
“There is nothing left-wing about running a deficit in perpetuity,” Mr Leslie said. “If the state cannot live within its means, and has to be cut back more and more, then taxpayers will lose faith in the public realm, will become more sceptical and cynical, and be more likely to exit and go to private health and private education. Without realising it, you end up eroding the collective case for public services.”
Admitting a Corbyn victory was “plausible,” Mr Leslie said: “You have got to have a credible Labour prime minister who understands this. Otherwise you have a decade or more of Tory rule.”
Mr Corbyn said last month he stood for the leadership “because Labour shouldn’t be swallowing the story that austerity is the anything other than a new façade for the same Tory plans.” He said if the deficit has been cleared by 2020, Labour should not run a deficit on day-to-day spending but should “borrow to invest in our future prosperity.”Reuse content