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Labour conference: Tories misunderstood the crisis, says Darling

The Conservatives misunderstood the causes of the crisis, underestimated its severity and opposed measures to limit its impact, the Chancellor Alistair Darling has claimed.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Brighton today, the Chancellor warned that last year Britain faced a “real prospect of a repeat of scenes not witnessed since 1929”.

He argued that had the Government followed Tory policy the UK and global economy would be in much worse shape.

He said: “Every step to limit the severity of this recession and the damage to families, they opposed.”

Darling attacked the Conservatives for calling for for less regulation when the crisis in the global mortgage markets began, he criticised them for wanting to leave Northern Rock to its fate and for protesting about the amount of money required to rescue the banks.

He said: “As the financial crisis turned into the deepest global recession since the 1930s, they alone said we should do nothing to support the economy.

“At every stage, the Tories have misunderstood the causes of the crisis. Underestimated its severity. And opposed the measures to limit its impact.”

Darling also accused the Conservatives of being too eager to wield the axe over public spending, saying its proposed cuts are motivated by ideology.

He also described the Government’s plans to put an end to automatic bank bonuses and ensure that bonuses paid over time can be clawed back where performance is not up to scratch.

He reaffirmed Budget predictions that the UK recovery will be underway by the end of the year and reiterated plans to introduce a new Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure the Government reduces the national deficit each year.

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