On Thursday both The Times and The Sun, Rupert Murdoch-backed newspapers, made the same misleading claims about a Labour Party review into the British economy.
The Independent Armitt Review of Infrastructure has been picked up on by The Times and The Sun for saying that the Office of Budget Responsibility was set up in 2010 at a time when the:
“backdrop of this was the economic crisis with Government requiring an independent body to reassure the markets at a time of major fiscal consolidation.”
The Times claims that this undermines Labour’s position. According to their interpretation of Armitt’s report:
“The notion of an “economic crisis” contradicts the official Labour line that in 2010 the recovery after a global crisis was starting to take hold until coalition cuts choked it off.”
The Sun also exclaimed that:
“LABOUR chiefs were left red-faced last night after a report they commissioned said the party had left the country in “ economic crisis ”
But what Armitt states does not contradict Labour’s position, because in 2010 Britain was recovering from the economic crisis of 2008 – 09.
What Armitt is referring to when he talks about the “economic crisis” is the bad state of the public finances – a result of a drop in GDP and then a resultant decrease in tax revenues.
When Labour left office growth was returning. In fact it was at 1.1% in the second quarter of 2010. But within a year of the Coalition government growth had dropped to 0.1%.
The claim that really should be apologised for is the claim trumpeted by Conservatives and Lib Dems at the dawn of the Coalition – that Britain was on the “brink of bankruptcy” and was in the same perilous situation as Greece. These were completely ridiculous assertions.
With both The Times and The Sun making such similar attacks on Labour, we have to wonder, are the papers marching to Murdoch’s tune?Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.