Pre-Budget 2008: £1 trillion warning from Osborne

Doubling the national debt is “the bill for Labour’s decade of irresponsibility”, shadow chancellor George Osborne says.

His response to Alistair Darling’s Pre-Budget Report was full of condemnation and criticism of the £20 billion fiscal stimulus outlined to the Commons.

Mr Osborne claimed the borrowing, which will peak at 57 per cent of GDP, would see Britain’s national debt double to £1 trillion.

He warned that £20 billion in giveaways would be matched with £40 billion in higher taxes, including a major rise in national insurance payments.

And he repeated previous criticisms that Mr Brown “did not fix the roof when the sun was shining”.

“He has placed a huge unexploded tax bombshell timed to go up underneath the future economic recovery,” Mr Osborne said.

The shadow chancellor rejected Mr Darling’s claim that problems in the global economy were responsible for the downturn as “nonsense”.

Instead he sought to pin the blame on the government and reverted to his party’s traditional criticism that Labour cannot manage the economy.

“No one can doubt now that the prime minister’s claim to have abolished boom and bust was one of the greatest deceits ever told to the British people,” Mr Osborne added.

“It is confirmation of the final truth – that in the end all Labour chancellors run out of money. And all Labour governments bring this country to the brink of bankruptcy.”