Promoted by Alan Pawsey on behalf of Chris Jones; both at St Mark's Church Hall, Hall Rd, Norwich, NR1 3HL

Dr Chris Jones

It's the economy, stupid! - that was Bill Clinton's campaign slogan and it's still true. A central part of any Government's programme is getting the economy right, not only because the country expects them to do it, but because every other policy depends on economic success to make it work.

The Tories continue to trot out the simple story that everything is the fault of the last Labour government, and getting the facts straight can be difficult in a soundbite-dominated media. So here are some more detailed facts about Labour and Tory management of the economy.

  • The Labour government didn't cause the crash of 2008 - it was a world-wide crisis triggered by under-regulation of the US banking and loans industry.

  • The Labour government didn't borrow too much - prior to the 2008 crash borrowing was actually lower than it was in 2007 at the end of 17 Tory years

  • The coalition hasn't borrowed less than Labour did - they've borrowed more in 5 years than Labour did in 13. In fact they've borrowed more than every single Labour government in history added together. That's why the national debt is now more than twice what it was in 2010

  • The recession was over and the economy was recovering by May 2010 (thank you, Alistair & Gordon!). It was George Osborne's austerity that tipped Britain back into a double and then triple-dip recession. That's why the UK lost its Triple-A credit rating under the Tories

  • Tax cuts for millionaires and VAT increases for everyone has made our tax system more regressive - the wealthiest have benfitted while ordinary families pay the price

  • The coalition hasn't eliminated the deficit (which they promised to do by 2015). It's increased every year since 2010

So it's not surprising that 66% of leading economists believe that the austerity programme has significantly damaged the UK economy.

The Tories always wanted to reduce the size of the State and they used the crisis as an excuse, even though it did further damage to our economy.

Labour's approach is different. We know that investment to grow the country's economy is the way out of recession. We know that investing in growth means more jobs, higher tax revenues, and reduced spending on welfare.

We know that widening inequality between the 1% at the top and everyone else damages our competitiveness. That's why we will reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax and raise the minimum wage to lift working families out of the need to rely on benefits. More tax revenue, reduced welfare spending and increased economic activity - it's a win-win plan.

And we are genuinely committed to reducing tax avoidance both in the UK and in cooperation with others around the world - something the Tories only pay lip-service to because it's their friends and backers who stand to lose the most.

Labour believes in an economy that works for everybody, not just the rich, because that's the way we can all do better.

Economic policies