Douglas Carswell

23 MAY 2016

Osborne the oracle?

Today George Osborne tells us to trust Treasury economists predicting a recession if we vote Leave. Would these be the same Treasury economists who in 2006 predicted 3% annual growth in 2007, 2008, and 2009 – during what turned out to be the worst recession in recent history?

George Osborne set up the Office for Budget Responsibility in 2010 precisely because Treasury forecasts can't be trusted.

Not that the OBR has been any more reliable. Lest we forget, here are some of George's previous predictions proved wrong:

  • In the 2010 emergency budget, he forecast the elimination of the budget deficit by 2015. In fact, we borrowed £74 billion last year. Now he says the books won't be balanced until 2020.
  • In the 2011 budget, he told us growth would strengthen. In reality, we only nominally avoided a double dip recession.
  • In the 2015 Autumn Statement, he found an extra £27 billion for the public finances – revising predictions from his 2015 emergency budget only a few months before. Then, in the 2016 budget, he revised it back again.

If we trusted all of George Osborne's predictions, we'd have to believe that the economy is simultaneously growing and contracting. That borrowing is both rising and falling. That the economy is in fantastic health and at the same time falling apart.

The Chancellor's predictions aren't just false. They're logically impossible.

But the latest Treasury figures are worse than that. Unlike the OBR's figures, they're not remotely independent. They reflect the political priorities of a man who sees everything as a political opportunity.

Underneath the bogus forecasts, the only genuine prediction George is making is that Brexit will bad for his career. Let's not allow that to distract us from what's best for Britain.

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