Senior Labour figure rules out date for party clearing deficit in government

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has said it would be foolish to try to predict the economy in 15 years' time, as he ruled out giving a date for when Labour would eliminate the deficit.

Mr Gardiner said the uncertainty over Brexit made such forecasts difficult.

Appearing on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, when asked when the deficit would be eliminated under Labour's plans, Mr Gardiner said: "No, I'm not going to say that at all."

He went on to say: "You've just heard one of our most eminent economists tell you that what, in your words, was 'we've drawn a line, and it could be on either side of it'.

"Anybody who wants to forecast what our economy is going to be like in 2031 here, 14, 15 years ahead of that date, when we have not even determined what the Brexit negotiations are going to look like, would be foolish.

"You know that as well as I do."

Mr Gardiner said Labour would ensure the deficit would be reducing within five years, and that the economy would be growing under Jeremy Corbyn's plans, making the deficit less of a burden.

Treasury watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility this week suggested that the Budget deficit will not be wiped out until 2031.

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