Told you so: George Osborne says new figures show economy is turning corner and that he has proved Labour wrong

Chancellor argues that the Government’s strategy has worked, but Miliband will cast it as a ‘recovery for the few’

The British economy is “turning a corner”, George Osborne said today as he claimed victory over the critics who wanted him to change course and adopt a Plan B.

In his most upbeat assessment of the economy yet, the Chancellor warned that many risks remain and that the UK is only in the “early stages of recovery”. He attempted to map out the battle lines for the 2015 election, saying that Labour has lost the economic argument and that its plan to borrow an extra £10bn for building projects would take the country “back to square one”.

Mr Osborne’s critics claim he has quietly abandoned his Plan A for a “Plan A plus”, with moves to boost the housing market and delaying the date by which he would balance the nation’s books. Labour insists the Coalition’s cuts delayed the return to growth for “three wasted years”.

But speaking in London today, Mr Osborne argued that the last few months have decisively ended the controversy about fiscal policy. He claimed those who favour a Plan B have “lost the argument” because they cannot explain improvements in the economic data.

The Chancellor also said that heeding calls to abandon his economic plan by spending and borrowing more would have undermined the recovery and would be “disastrous” now.

Insisting that the emerging recovery is broad-based and sustainable, the Chancellor said the Government’s new regulatory system will spot imbalances in the economy as they emerge. Warning of more spending cuts after the 2015 election, he declared that many tough decisions still have to be taken and that “the only sustainable path to prosperity is to reject the old quick fixes and stick to the course we have set”.

He added: “This is a hard, difficult road we have been following. But it is the only way to deliver a sustained, lasting improvement in the living standards of the British people.”

Mr Osborne claimed the squeeze on living standards would have been even harsher if the Government had bowed to pressure to change course. “The evidence suggests tentative signs of a balanced, broad-based and sustainable recovery, but we cannot take this for granted,” he said.

“More tough choices will be required after the next election to find many billions of further savings and anyone who thinks those decisions can be ducked is not fit for Government. For microeconomic policy, the priority must be following through with our far-reaching economic reforms in order to raise living standards in a sustainable way.”

Labour accused the Chancellor of a "desperate attempt to rewrite history".

"Three wasted years of flatlining under George Osborne have left ordinary families worse off and caused long-term damage to our economy," shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie said.

"This desperate attempt to rewrite history will not wash when on every test he set himself, this Chancellor's Plan A has badly failed - on living standards, growth and the deficit."

Ed Miliband intends to hit back in his speech to the TUC conference, accusing the Coalition of delivering a “recovery for the few”.

Early copies of his speech show he will argue: “At the moment you hear the Tories congratulating themselves on the economy. But that just show how out of touch with ordinary families they have become. Living standards have been falling for longer than at any time since 1870. Only the privileged few in our society are feeling better off. This is an unfair recovery. This is an unequal recovery. And an unequal recovery won’t be a stable recovery. It won’t be built to last.”

The Labour leader continues: “What makes an economy succeed is not just a few people at the top, but the forgotten wealth creators. The people who put in the hours, do the work, do two jobs. Who get up before George Osborne’s curtains are open in the morning and come back at night well after they have closed. They’re the people who make our economy strong. They’re the people we have to support to make a recovery that lasts.”

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

SECONDARY SUPPLY TEACHERS NEEDED IN AND AROUND DARTFORD

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Description Randstad Education i...

SECONDARY SUPPLY TEACHERS NEEDED IN AND AROUND SWALE

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Description Randstad Education i...

Geography Teacher, full time supply role, Thanet Academy

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The School Randstad are proud to...

Science Teacher, full time supply role, Thanet Academy

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The School Randstad are proud to...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week