Osborne plans emergency Budget

By Alex Stevenson

George Osborne will call an emergency Budget within weeks of winning the next election, he confirmed today.

Assuming the general election takes place after April, the Conservatives will be within the 2010/11 financial year and their ability to change Labour’s spending plans will be constrained.

Despite this, Mr Osborne said during a speech in central London today: “If we are elected, we will be elected in part to deal with very high levels of public debt. And we’ve got to get moving.”

New governments often impose their own spending agenda with a quick Budget. Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher both pushed them through after their first election victories.

Despite this Mr Osborne said an emergency Budget was important, saying “early decisions” were critical and that it would “send powerful signals” about the Tories’ intentions internationally.

“It is fairly normal for a party elected in a spring. It’s perfectly reasonable at a time of economic distress to get on with announcing your economic position,” he added.

The shadow chancellor’s comments came as he addressed the Spectator’s Paths Back To Prosperity conference.

Osborne speech in full

He used his speech to outline the principles the Conservatives will apply to the economy, “monetary activism, fiscal responsibility and supply-side reform”.

Mr Osborne claimed the Conservatives “now command the centre of British politics”.

The “weak and desperate” Gordon Brown, by contrast, was judged as being “on the eve of a complete capitulation”.

“Whether he hoists the white flag today at the TUC, or later at his conference, or when parliament returns, we will see. But hoist that white flag he will. For he and his style of politics have been comprehensively defeated,” he said.

Mr Osborne contrasted the Labour government’s commitment to keeping spending up with the Tories’ determination to “get to grips” with the budget deficit.

He concluded: “A recovery built on debt is just like an economic boom built on debt – it is living on borrowed time.”