Battle of the letters continues: Economists side with Brown

By politics.co.uk staff

A new chapter in the protracted ‘battle of the letters’ began today, with the news that 58 economists were backing Labour’s position on cuts.

The Daily Telegraph, which reports that it has seen the leaked letter, said it had been signed by several eminent economists and argued that Tory spending cut plans would threaten the economic recovery.

It comes on the same day at the Tories cited 415 small and medium-sized businesses backing its plans to scrap the rise in national insurance tax.

“We believe that the government’s proposal to increase National Insurance, placing an additional tax on jobs, comes at exactly the wrong time in the economic cycle,” the pro-Tory letter said.

“Cutting government waste won’t endanger the recovery – but putting up national insurance will.”
The economists’ letter, meanwhile, brands Tory financial policy “destablising”.

It reads: “The recovery is still fragile. Only when the recovery is well under way, will it be safe to have extra cuts in government expenditure.”

The battle of letters began last February when a group of economists wrote to the Times backing the Conservative approach to the economy. This was soon followed by a letter to the Financial Times by several more economists saying they were backing Labour.