News that Oxfordshire's economy has experienced low economic growth in the past five years raises a serious question over Tory plans nationally to start cutting the budget deficit immediately if they are elected in May. The Oxfordshire Economic Assessment prepared for the County Council says that the county experienced low economic growth compared to the rest of the South East. The improvement which has occurred was due mainly to growth in public sector, which is now being hit by budget constraints.
Public sector growth is likely to fall further in the future so government action nationally will be essential to sustain the weak recovery. The fragile state of the economy means that drastic cuts proposed by the Conservatives for this year would put jobs at risk in Oxfordshire. Today, unemployment figures for the county showed a welcome fall in the jobless total of 300 in February but there are still over 9,000 people out of work across the county.
The economic recovery is proving slow and uncertain and any drastic curbs on government spending will have a major impact across Britain. The news released today about Oxfordshire's economy and unemployment figures show that our county has far to go to secure a successful future for residents and businesses here. A Tory government would threaten the recovery here.
Liberal Democrats recognise the need to address the deficit, which is why we have put forward £15bn of specific savings for this year to start to address the deficit immediately. This is in stark contrast to the Tories, who have said that they want to make deep cuts now without saying what they would cut.