Philip Hammond’s attack on Labour over ‘market economics’ – Channel 4 News

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has defended the “market economy”, saying it has brought people out of poverty.

In media interviews and his speech to Conservative conference, Mr Hammond repeatedly accused the Labour Party of posing a threat to this economic model. The chancellor even appeared to compare Labour’s policies to countries like North Korea and Venezuela.

But do his claims pass the FactCheck test?

“Since 1979, when Britain turned its back on the policies of Corbyn and McDonnell revival show this week, living standards in this country have doubled.”

The chancellor is right that living standards have doubled since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979.

But he’s wrong to suggest that this date marked a turning point, with an increased rate of improvement. In reality, it has now slumped.

This graph from the IFS provides the official measure of living standards, dating back to 1961. It shows there was no significant change in living standards after 1979.

Living standards remained on roughly the same trajectory all the way up until the financial crash of 2008.

Since then, under the Conservatives, living standards have failed to catch up with the pre-recession trend. The IFS described the growth in average income as “very weak”, post-recession.

This is particularly true for certain demographics. Since the crash, median income has actually fallen by 4 per cent among people aged 22-30.

“It’s an argument between nostalgic idealism on Corbyn’s part and pragmatism on our part … Every country except North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe has adopted that system. What he’s offering them is an illusion, a pretence.”

Mr Hammond has made this comparison several times in media interviews, as well as in his speech to the Conservative Party conference.

The idea that Labour’s policies are anything like the brutal system imposed by the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, is at best extremely far-fetched.

The point Mr…

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