When George Osborne wakes up today, there will be one thing gnawing away at him; the government's economic plan is failing. What he will say in the chamber will not mirror the country’s reality.
Although it might not seem like it, the Chancellor does have a choice. Instead of more of the same failing policies he could follow Labour’s lead and set out a bold and radical Budget today that will kickstart our economy and help millions on low and middle incomes struggling with the rising cost of living like thousands of people in Liverpool.
Treasury ministers have consistently attempting to put a brace face on things. TV and Radio interview after TV and radio interview. For a spell, their plan was working. Everything was Labour’s fault. But then the country watched what was happening in France, in Germany and in America. Growth in the German economy since autumn 2010 of 3.6%. Growth in the American economy since autumn 2010 of 4.2%. And they compared it to growth in the British economy since autumn 2010 of just 0.4% and suddenly the country wasn’t so quick to blame every one but Dave.
Later on today, the Chancellor will have two options; admit he is wrong and change course or plough on and continue to get it wrong. If, as I expect he will, he adopts the later approach, I’m tempted to suggest that his actions will be the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. It’s never going to look any better.
The truth of course, is that our economy is flatlining, prices are rising faster than wages, the deficit is going up and even our triple-A credit rating has been lost. On every economic test this Government set itself, it has failed. It’s no wonder the Cabinet are losing confidence in the Prime Minister and his downgraded Chancellor by openly calling for a change of direction.
I don’t say that with any pleasure. The country is in dire need of a united government capable of delivering jobs and growth. I have too many constituents depending on the economic climate to change for the better, to take any pleasure in seeing Cameron’s weak leadership come to the fore in a way I always knew that it would.
But now is not the time for the kind of egotistical nonsense and amateur economics that we have seen coming from Downing Street in the last few days, weeks, months and indeed years.
We need action now to kickstart our economy, create jobs and support businesses.
That means Gideon must bring forward long-term infrastructure investment in schools, roads and transport and build thousands of affordable homes — getting builders back to work, creating the homes we need now and strengthening our economy for the future.
That means Gideon must temporarily reverse the government’s VAT rise to boost spending power in the economy and give small firms a national insurance tax break if they take on extra workers.
That means Gideon must get people back to work to help get the benefits bill down by guaranteeing a job for every young person out of work for a year or more and every adult unemployed for over two years – a job that they will have to take up or lose their benefits – funded by a fair tax on bank bonuses and changes to pensions tax relief for the very richest.
And finally, it means Gideon must get lending going to small and medium-sized companies, who desperately want to invest and expand, by establishing a British Investment Bank.
Politics is always about priorities. And when faced with a deeply uncertain economic landscape such as this, the Government must prioritise who in society should bear the greatest burden.
I would argue that a strong and sustained recovery can only be made by the many, not just a few at the top. So we need to ease the squeeze on people on middle and low incomes, like right here in Liverpool Walton. People who are seeing their living standards fall year after year.
And the Chancellor can do that by simply cancelling next month's ludicrous tax cut for millionaires. It is not right that millions are being forced to pay more for this government’s economic failure - and through cuts to tax credits, child benefit, maternity pay and the bedroom tax - while millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut.
The Chancellor could implement fair tax cuts for millions of people on middle and low incomes, for example by bringing back a new lower 10p starting rate of tax (paid for by a mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million) and putting right a mistake Labour made in the past.
And if the government finally wants to help families with the growing cost of childcare, they should start by reversing their cuts to childcare tax credits which cost a family with two children up to £1,500 a year and extending Labour’s free nursery places from 15 to 20 hours a week.
All this could be announced in a couple of hours time and we could see the difference in our homes and our towns and our cities in a matter of just weeks. Anything less than the alternative Labour has set out and 2013/2014 will be even more difficult for Liverpool’s families.