Brown has got it right on deficit, say economists

More than 100 senior economists have backed Gordon Brown's approach to tackling Britain's huge deficit and opposed David Cameron's plan to start cuts in public spending this year.

In a statement to be issued today ahead of the party leaders' televised debate on economic affairs, they warned that Tory proposals to find an immediate £6bn of efficiency savings could destabilise the economy, wreck the fragile recovery and cause job losses. "It is just a cut by another name," they said.

They added: "Only when the recovery is well under way, will it be safe to have extra cuts in government expenditure. The first step is to make sure that growth returns, and thus that tax receipts recover. Rash action now could imperil not only jobs but also the prospects for reducing the deficit."

The economists include Lord Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the London School of Economics; David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee; Lord Skidelsky, emeritus professor of political economy, University of Warwick; Christopher Allsopp, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy; Philip Arestis, professor of economics, University of Cambridge, and David Bell, professor of economics, University of Stirling.

In another fillip for Labour, the latest ComRes poll for The Independent and ITV News shows that Mr Brown and Alistair Darling are more trusted to steer the economy through its current problems than their Tory and Liberal Democrat counterparts. Some 31 per cent say they trust the Prime Minister and Chancellor most, while 28 per cent name the Tories' David Cameron and George Osborne and 20 per cent the Liberal Democrat team of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

However, the Tories can take comfort from the latest party ratings, which show them extending their lead from four to seven points. Mr Cameron's party is on 36 per cent (up three points), Labour on 29 per cent (unchanged), the Liberal Democrats on 26 per cent (down three) and other parties on 9 per cent (unchanged). These figures would make the Tories the largest party in a hung parliament, 44 seats short of an overall majority.

The findings will raise Tory hopes that the Liberal Democrat bubble has burst – although Mr Clegg will try to bounce back in tonight's debate.

There was some good news for the Liberal Democrats in the latest survey. More than six out of 10 people (62 per cent) believe that introducing some form of proportional representation (PR) into Britain's electoral system would be a "good thing", while 20 per cent disagree.

PR is backed by a majority of supporters of all three main parties – including 51 per cent of people intending to vote Tory, 61 per cent of Labour backers, 79 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters and 64 per cent of those who are undecided or who refuse to say how they will vote.

However, the public are unlikely to back Mr Clegg if he were to make PR the price of joining a coalition government. Only 24 per cent say that such a move would make them more likely to vote for him, while 61 per cent disagree.

ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,006 GB adults on 26-27 April 2010. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults and by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea