Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

PM 'uses eurozone crisis as cloak'

Labour leader Ed Miliband gives a speech to the party's West Midlands Regional Conference
Labour leader Ed Miliband gives a speech to the party's West Midlands Regional Conference

David Cameron faced Labour calls to stop using the eurozone crisis as a cloak for economic inaction at home as Italy eased itself further away from the brink by approving a new austerity package.

Silvio Berlusconi resigned as prime minister after the vote - opening the way for the formation of a technocratic administration to drive through reforms.

European leaders hope the measure will restore relative calm to volatile markets as they continue to seek an effective solution to the debt crisis threatening the future of the single currency bloc.

Mr Cameron has warned of difficulties for the UK as a direct result of the "big question mark" over the eurozone troubles, declining on Friday to rule out a "double-dip" return to recession.

The Prime Minister is expected to travel to Berlin next week for face-to-face talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is under increasing pressure to approve European Central Bank intervention. The Treasury said the Italian vote was a "welcome step" as the eurozone crisis was a threat to the UK and other world economies.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband accused him of using the eurozone crisis as a "cloak" for the Government's failure to take implement domestic measures to protect people's jobs and homes.

Mr Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg all issued stark warnings on Friday of the potential fallout of the eurozone troubles on domestic fortunes.

In his speech to a regional party conference, Mr Miliband said: "There is an urgent and pressing need for the crisis in the eurozone to be resolved. But when people's jobs, homes and businesses are in jeopardy it is not enough for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to use the eurozone crisis as a cloak to hide their lack of action.

"They have done nothing as the economy flatlined. Now they are making a second fundamental mistake by blaming the eurozone crisis for our economic emergency and using that as an excuse for doing nothing.

"Our growth stalled and problems started before the eurozone crisis escalated. But David Cameron and George Osborne are still sitting on their hands at home refusing to admit they are wrong."

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