Tory MP attacks Osborne 'mistakes'

George Osborne has come under fire from a Tory backbencher for building a Gordon Brown-style recovery on cheap credit and a housing boom.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell accused the Chancellor of "repeating the mistakes" of his Labour predecessor, and sowing the seeds for another crash.

The attack came as another senior Conservative, Bernard Jenkin, warned that the party was on track to lose 50 seats at the general election - almost certainly putting Ed Miliband in Downing Street.

In private remarks to colleagues quoted in the Mail on Sunday , Mr Jenkin said: "On present trends we are going to lose 50 seats - and most of them don't even realise it.

"It has got to the ridiculous position where Nigel Farage is telling us what our policy on immigration should be - and he is right."

Writing in the same newspaper, Mr Carswell said: "Any government can raise output if it spends more than it takes in tax, and showers the economy with cheap credit.

"After all the excesses of Gordon Brown's time at the Treasury, what we need is not another dose of cheap credit.

"We need a monetary policy that encourages us to produce more, and borrow less. Saving needs to go up and debts down.

"Instead the Chancellor, George Osborne, has adopted much the same monetary approach as his predecessor.

"This 'Osbrown' economic policy, as I call it, means Britain is more dependent on consumer spending and mortgage debt than ever before."

He added: "Rather than living within our means, the trade deficit - the difference between what we import and export as a country - is growing.

"An export-led recovery? Hardly. Tiny Belgium sells more to India and China than we do."

Mr Carswell said "years of easy money and low interest rates under successive governments have clogged up Britain's economic arteries".

He wrote: "I fear Osbrown economics is sowing the seeds of the next downturn.

"Help to Buy is one of the Government's flagship policies, helping fuel the recovery, apparently.

"First contemplated by the Treasury when Alistair Darling was at the helm, it is certainly helping some people on to the property ladder. But are we certain it is not also lifting the ladder out of reach of some altogether? Last year, house prices - fuelled by Help to Buy - rose by more than eight per cent.

"The fundamental problem for the Conservatives is not just that we are pursuing today much the same monetary policy as Brown.

"We are doing so because we do not have a coherent, free market alternative in mind - and have not done so for more than a quarter of a century."

Mr Carswell urged higher interest rates to encourage saving rather than spending, and more fundamental bank reform.

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