How not to help the economy get back on its feet

Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne seems intent on getting into more fights than Didier Drogba in 2008.

After an absurd incident on a boat in Greece over summer, in which Osborne was accused of trying to set up dodgy funding deals for the Tory Party, he is now trying to rock the boat and single-handedly bring down our currency, the pound sterling.

Osborne, the Tories' shadow chancellor and therefore their final word on the economy, has spent much of this week saying that the pound is about to collapse. Though these are difficult times, and the pound has certainly taken a beating against both the euro and the dollar, for somebody of Osborne's stature to make such a comment can have huge effects.

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Markets are very, very sensitive to any announcements predicting movement '“ this is why the Governor of the Bank of England, the Chancellor and the Prime Minister are always so cautious about predicting growth rates, or more recently, announcing that we may be in a recession. An announcement alone can cause us to slip further into difficulty, so these statements will not be made unless those making them are near certain that they are correct.

This is why the Tories' top man on the economy, George Osborne, is putting millions of jobs and the future of businesses across the country at risk.

This is symptomatic of a wider problem for the Conservatives and the economy. Their proposals often sound good, but don't add up. Take their proposed solution to the credit crunch as an example. They are appealing on face value, but upon closer supervision cost a lot '“ when the Tories claimed the measures would be 'fully funded'.

Briefly, the Tories had the idea of giving employers a National Insurance rebate when taking on new employees. However, if one employee is sacked and another taken on, no new employment has been created, but the business would still be given a tax break.

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Second, this tax break only applies when taking on someone who has been unemployed for three months or more. This seems to me to actively encourage businesses to hold off until people have met that three month threshold, so increasing unemployment rather than reducing it.

So for all the criticism that Osborne is flinging at Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown at the moment, it seems the Conservatives still have a long way to go before they will be able to run an economy.