“The Chancellor had no answers today as his economic plans were brought into question. Instead he left it to his deputy, the Chief Secretary, whohad no meaningful defence of this government’s record.

“We all remember the Chancellor’s boasts at the end of last year but he was quiet today when asked why he now thinks the economy is smaller than he used to claim.

“George Osborne is keen to find fault with everyone but himself. However, since the Autumn Statement, we’ve seen business investment fall, his exports target secretly abandoned, the trade deficit widening, manufacturing entering recession, construction entering recession, the productivity gap widen to the biggest it has been for a generation, and unsecured household debt rising at record rates.

“In the week that a former Bank of England governor says the banks have failed to learn their lesson, it’s clear we have a bankers’ Chancellor who has failed to learn his lessons too.”

In response to the claims by George Osborne that the 45p rate has raised £8 billion more in taxes than the 50p rate, John McDonnell MP said:

“No one seriously believes these fantasy figures from George Osborne. And it will come as no surprise that yet again this bankers’ Chancellor is playing fast and loose with figures to justify his tax giveaways to a wealthy few, while making the rest of us worse off.

“The truth is that the delay in implementing the 45p rate probably allowed significant time for many wealthy people to structure their tax arrangements so that they couldsimply pay it at the Chancellor’s new lower rate. Now George Osborne is trying to hide the fact that this was really a giveaway topeople at the top while everyone else pays more’.”

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