More economists back Labour

By Sam Dale

Labour is claiming the support of another 31 economists, making a total of 108, for their planned national insurance tax rise next year.

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz was a signatory to a letter opposing Conservative plans to scrap the rise and fund it through an extra £6 billion efficiency savings this year.

The economists, including Lord Layard, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics and Lord Skidelsky, emeritus professor at the University of Warwick, warn that Tory proposals would “lead directly to job losses” and could tip the UK back into recession.

“This is not the time for such a destabilising action. The recovery is still fragile,” the letter states.

It continues: “The first step is to make sure that growth returns, and thus that tax receipts recover. Rash action now could imperil not only jobs but also the prospects for reducing the deficit.”

Liam Byrne, Labour’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, agreed with the economists about David Cameron’s tax policy.

“The weight of evidence from these hundred leading economists is clear. The cuts David Cameron wants to make in just a few weeks time are a major risk to the recovery.

“Taking such reckless action while the recovery is still fragile will cost jobs and put the hard-won recovery people have worked for at risk.”