Economy figures spark fury

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OPPOSITION politicians in South Yorkshire have criticised the Government after latest figures showed the economy shrank by 0.5 per cent during the last quarter of 2010.

Chancellor George Osborne partly blamed the slowdown on freezing weather during December – but the Office of National Statistics said there would have been no growth even if the cold snap had not occurred.

The statistics showed inflation has risen from 3.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent and unemployment had risen by 0.2 per cent to 7.9 per cent.

But GDP was still 1.7 per cent higher than in the same period during 2009.

Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour MP Angela Smith said: “The Government inherited an economy that was strengthening, with growth of 1.1 per cent in the second quarter – thanks to decisions Labour took to support jobs and get the economy moving.

“Now we are seeing the first signs of the impact of the Government’s decisions on the economy. The facts are that they are cutting too fast and too deep and that is starting to damage our economy.”

Sheffield Council’s Labour group leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “The Tory/Lib Dem Government have been complacent about the recovery and we are seeing the consequences. Only this week we have seen the CBI criticise the Government for having no plan for growth and making decisions for political reasons regardless of their impact on the economy.”