Trust in Tories slides as George Osborne blames Europe for Britain's double dip
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 16 May 2012
The Conservatives have lost their lead over Labour on economic competence as doubts grow about the "austerity strategy" pursued by the Coalition and governments across Europe.
Attempts by George Osborne, the Chancellor, to blame Britain's return to recession on the eurozone crisis were undermined by official figures showing that the German economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the first three months of this year, while France escaped recession by flatlining at zero growth.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Osborne insisted the uncertainty over the euro and the troubles in Greece were having an impact in Britain. He said: "This is a time of considerable uncertainly in the eurozone economies and that uncertainty is undermining the entire European recovery and we are reaching a point where we have to make a decision. We have to see the eurozone standing behind their currency."
Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said: "With Germany, France and the eurozone as a whole avoiding recession, it's now clear that Britain's double-dip recession was made in Downing Street by David Cameron and George Osborne's failed economic policies. As even the credit rating agencies now recognise, extreme austerity is self-defeating."
Labour has trailed the Conservatives on economic trust since the 2010 election after many voters blamed the deficit on the last Labour Government. But two polls published yesterday found that the two main parties are now running neck and neck on the issue.
YouGov showed that 27 per cent of people regarded Labour as the best party to handle the economy, while 26 per cent opted for the Tories, the first time they have not been ahead on the issue since the election. Only 8 per cent named the Liberal Democrats.
Ipsos MORI gave the Tories (on 31 per cent) a tiny one-point lead over Labour on the economy – down from the 10-point advantage they enjoyed last September. It also showed that Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg's personal ratings have slumped to a record low. The Prime Minister has a net approval rating –the number of people satisfied with his performance minus those dissatisfied – of minus 28 per cent, while Mr Clegg's is down to minus 39 per cent. Ed Miliband remains little changed on minus 16 per cent.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...