Tribune MPs seek pledge to borrow more: Labour backbenchers urge party's Treasury team to take bolder line on jobs

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Indy Politics
(First Edition)

LEFT-OF-CENTRE Labour MPs called last night for a bolder economic policy, insisting that the goal of full employment would remain an illusion without an additional pounds 10bn of borrowing for investment, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Members of the 100-strong broad-left Tribune group were debating a motion by Roger Berry, the MP for Kingswood, arguing that so-called 'supply' side policies put forward by Labour's treasury team had to be matched with immediate measures to stimulate demand.

Members played down implicit criticism of the Labour front bench and Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, who has consistently avoided calling explicitly for significantly higher public borrowing for job creation. But the discussion is further evidence of pressure by the party for a more expansive policy.

MPs at yesterday's meeting insisted an extra pounds 10bn of borrowing for public investment in the coming financial year was a vital ingredient of any package to promote full employment.

MPs such as Peter Hain and Mr Berry insist the demand side cannot be ignored, and claim the support of a number of Shadow Cabinet members. Mr Hain said: 'Attacking the banks is OK, but we need a bolder macro-economic policy.'

Mr Berry said: 'The question must be, will your Budget reduce unemployment in 12 months' time? We have got to say how we will pay for it.'

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