George Osborne: A taxation policy does not equal an economic policy

From a speech by the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered to the Centre for Policy Studies, in London
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The Independent Online

That we don't see such political cartoons in the papers today reminds us that it is as true now as it was then: without a strong and stable economy, the social policies of politicians are worthless. A strong society depends on a strong economy.

For far too long the Conservative Party has had good ideas, but lacked consistency and clarity. We have correctly put forward the case for lower taxes, but failed to set that in the context of a broader economic strategy. A taxation policy does not equal an economic policy. We need to show how lower taxes support our wider economic objectives.

We laid the foundation for the macroeconomic stability that Britain has enjoyed, but we lost credit for it by voting against Bank independence. We have talked about reform of public services, but we opposed foundation hospitals. It's good news that we are now supporting City Academies.

We have made theoretical arguments in favour of a smaller state, but in practice we voted against tuition fees. We have consistently opposed strikes yet tacitly supported the fuel protesters who brought England to a virtual stand still.

Too often we have sacrificed long-term credibility for the prospect of winning the support of an aggrieved section of the population or the possibility of winning a vote in the House of Commons. By disagreeing with the Prime Minister when he attempts to do the right thing, we undermine our credibility when we criticise him for doing the wrong thing.

Short-termism has hampered attempts to develop a long term economic policy.