By Ian Dunt
George Osborne tried to put a brave face on downgraded growth forecasts as he presented the 2011 Budget.
Growth was revised downwards from 2.3% to 1.7% for 2011. That came after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) already downgraded it from 2.6% to 2.3% last June.
The Budget revealed that growth forecasts for 2012 stand at 2.5%, while 2013 should see growth of 2.9%, a figure which will be replicated in 2014.
By 2015 the OBR expects growth to again fall slightly to 2.8%.
"One fact says it all and he couldn't bring himself to say it: growth down last year, this year and next year," Labour leader Ed Miliband said.
"It's the same old Tories. It's hurting but it isn't working.
"Last year Mr Osborne said 'judge me on the figures'. Well, judge him we will.
"Every time he comes to this House growth is downgraded."
TUC general secretary Brenden Barber added: "Today's measures do nothing to end the basic error of imposing deep, rapid and unfair spending cuts on an economy where unemployment is rising and growth faltering."
Mr Osborne blamed the revision on a worse than expected last quarter in 2010, which he blamed on excessive snow.