Trust in Tories slides as George Osborne blames Europe for Britain's double dip


Andrew Grice
Wednesday 16 May 2012 11:25

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in