Posts Tagged ‘GDP figures’

Growth has returned, but Labour can still win on the economy if it can answer these five questions

28/01/2014, 10:39:00 AM

by Jonathan Todd

The return to solid GDP growth (at least compared to recent years) was always going to present Labour with a challenge. However, notwithstanding the immediate favourable headlines that the government has garnered from today’s figures, the present economic debate still contains numerous positives for Labour.

First, the 50p tax – enjoying 60% support – is popular. Second, the Balls fiscal consolidation plan is also. Polling for Labour Uncut prior to Labour party conference explored how voters would respond to Labour promising to keep most of the present government’s spending plans but to borrow more for public works such as building homes. Balls’ position now amounts to this and our analysis at conference revealed its appeal. Third, left popularism – otherwise known as bashing the banks and big energy – is, by definition, popular.

Inevitably, growth tips the balance towards the government on the economy, but if the public back Labour on the answer to the following five questions, the party can still win the debate. If, however, the public back the Tories, then Labour will need some new responses, and fast.

Balls v Big Business? Who will win?

It sounds like something the Ricky Gervais character Derek might ask but it’s a variation on a Huffington Post headline. The Post story noted coverage in the Financial Times (‘Businesses blast 50p tax plans by Labour’) and the Daily Telegraph (‘Bosses blitz Labour’s 50p tax rate’).

‘Big Business backs New Labour’ now seems a less likely story. Yet it was as recently as 19 December last year that Balls was quoted in the Financial Times as describing financial services as: “A massive advantage for Britain. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Having served with distinction in the prawn cocktail offensive, we might wonder whether Balls’ heart is really in battling big business.


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