'Hubris and complacency': Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of over economy and living standards

Labour leader says the Coalition had presided over the slowest recovery in 100 years

James Tapsfield
Wednesday 11 September 2013 16:40 BST

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Ed Miliband has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of “hubris and complacency” during angry Commons clashes over the economy and living standards.

The Labour leader said the Coalition had presided over the slowest recovery in 100 years, and only the wealthy are benefiting from its policies.

While acknowledging that the overall unemployment figure had shown an improvement this morning, Mr Miliband mocked Chancellor George Osborne for claiming in a speech that he had been proven right over his handling of UK plc.

"The Chancellor went out and said he had saved the economy. Total complacency and total hubris," Mr Miliband said.

"At a time when, even today, unemployment is rising in half the country.

"It was the Chancellor who choked off the recovery and now he wants to somehow claim credit for it.

"And people's living standards continue to fall."

Mr Cameron admitted the Government "faced a challenge" to raise people's living standards, but pointed to low interest rates and the £10,000 tax threshold.

He said Mr Osborne's optimism was "legitimate", adding: "Real complacency is going back to tax-and-spend and borrowing through the roof."

The exchanges came after Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable sought to distance himself from any suggestion of triumphalism.

Mr Cable said that although there are positive signs, Britain remains in a "dark tunnel" and the Government still has a lot of work to do to entrench a recovery.

Launching his attack during PMQs in the Commons, Mr Miliband said people were on average £1,500 a year worse off since the coalition came to power in 2010.

But Mr Cameron shot back: "The party opposite told us there would be no growth without Plan B. Well, we have growth.

"They told us unemployment would go up and not down. They told us the growth of private sector jobs would never make up for the loss to the (public) sector jobs.

"They have been wrong on every single one of these issues."

He added: "The only way you can help with living standards sustainably is to deliver growth in the economy, which we are, to keep interest rates and mortgage rates low, which we are, and to cut people's taxes by raising the personal allowance.

"All the things this Government has done, and things his government would never do."

Mr Cameron insisted: "Of course it's welcome when unemployment falls but we have got a long way to go.

"As the Chancellor said, 'We are turning the corner'. But we have got to build this recovery. We have got to go on backing businesses, we have got to go on dealing with our debts.

"There must be absolutely no complacency as we do everything we can to make sure this recovery delivers for hard-working people."


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