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Growth Forecast

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 21 June 2011

18. What assessment he has made of the most recent growth forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility. (60790)

Growth forecasts are for the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. In March it forecast the economy to grow by 1.7% in 2011, 2.5% in 2012 and 2.9% in 2013.

If the OBR embarrasses the Treasury again by downgrading growth forecasts yet again, how will the Government respond?

As I say, growth forecasts are a matter for the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. I am clear that the deficit reduction programme is essential to ensure that we have confidence in the UK economy. Given that the Opposition caused the mess we are trying to clear up, I hoped the hon. Lady would support that.

Does the Chief Secretary agree that one of the assessments that we can make on growth is that encouraging job creation in the private sector will see a reversal of the decline in the productivity experienced when the Labour party was in power, and is likely to see growth forecasts continue to rise?

The hon. Gentleman is right that we need to see the private sector lead the economic recovery. Many of the measures that we announced in “The Plan for Growth”, such as reforms to the planning system, the measures on regulation and some of the tax measures that we announced to support investment, will all help to encourage and support private sector businesses to lead the recovery that we all want to see.