BusinessCompany NewsBudget 2003: Tories slam Brown over forecasts

Budget 2003: Tories slam Brown over forecasts

Within minutes of the chancellor sitting down the Conservatives issued a damning statement accusing Gordon Brown of downgrading his forecasts - again.

Link: Budget special

‘Forecast UK GDP Growth for 2003 downgraded for the second time in less than five months,’ a spokesman said.

Gordon Brown predicted growth of 3% to 3.5% in last year’s Budget, 2.5% to 3% in November’s Pre-Budget Report and 2% to 2.5% today. Gordon Brown’s central forecast is therefore down by nearly a third from the central 2002 Budget forecast.’

The party insisted investment forecast were down too. ‘In last year’s Budget, Gordon Brown said business investment would grow by 5.5% to 6.25% in 2003,’ said the spokesman. ‘Today the same forecast has been revised down and now stands at 1.5% to 1%. Today’s Budget also confirms that business investment fell by 8% in 2002.’

Manufacturing investment is also down, the Tories said. ‘In last year’s Budget, Gordon Brown said manufacturing output would grow by 2.25% to 2.75% in 2003,’ said the spokesman.

‘Today the same forecast has been revised down to 0.25% to 0.75%. Today’s Budget also confirms that manufacturing output fell by 4% in 2002.’

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