Belfast Telegraph

Coalition 'hell bent on destruction' - Labour

By David Hughes and Craig Woodhouse

Shadow Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne accused the Government of being "hell bent" on destroying the foundations of economic success laid by Labour.

Mr Byrne used his speech to the Labour Party conference in Manchester to claim the Government's plans to cut spending would mean "longer dole queues" and £1bn extra on the benefits bill.

He told delegates the coalition "don't give a damn" about encouraging growth at a local level and defended Labour's record in coping with the recession.

Mr Byrne said: "When the crisis hit, we had to choose. To do nothing, or to act. So, did we want a deficit that was this big? Of course not. But we had to choose the lesser evil. Because we said to ourselves never again, will we have the unemployment, the repossessions, the bankruptcies that so scarred this country in the 1980s and the 1990s?

"Labour has always said that a strong government on the side of people in this country can make sure that the citizens of this country are not the victims of events but the masters of events."

But he issued a stark warning about the effect the coalition's deficit reduction plan would have on the economy.

"This Government is hell bent on destroying the foundations of our economic success and ignoring every lesson that we had to learn the hard way.

"If we learnt one thing in office, if we learnt one thing from our economic success it is that you have to give people the chance to work."

He dismissed Prime Minister David Cameron's desire to champion localism and put "oomph into communities".

Mr Byrne said: "The only thing that they want to put into our communities is the boot and the only thing that is stopping him is us."