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George Osborne under attack from Tories over growth plans

A senior Tory MP has criticised plans as ‘piecemeal’, while John Redwood says the chancellor cannot stick to tax promises

The Tory party has been hit by a row over its economic strategy on the eve of the Conservative party conference with a senior backbencher attacking George Osborne’s plans as “piecemeal” and in need of “radical improvement”.

Andrew Tyrie, the influential chairman of the Treasury select committee, said the government still did not have a “coherent and credible” plan for growth and questioned government initiatives such as David Cameron’s “big society”.

“There is much to do, and it is not just a question of gaps in policy,” Tyrie said.

“A coherent and credible plan for the long-term economic growth rate of the UK economy is needed,” he told the Times.

Osborne also came under fire from John Redwood, the co-chairman of the Conservative party’s police review group in economic competitiveness.

Redwood told BBC News that he did not think Osborne would be able to stick to his promise, outlined in the Daily Telegraph, that there would be no tax cuts before the next election.

He said Osborne would have to backtrack to ensure the UK retained its “competitiveness”.

He added: “I think Andrew Tyrie speaks for a lot of Conservatives when he says that he thinks that some of the spending priorities are not appropriate for current austerity Britain and that we need to make stronger strides to get the deficit down by controlling spending.

“I think the £30bn increase in current public spending last year was rather a large increase in the circumstances.”

He added that Tyrie’s views on tax would also be shared by party members.

“If we’re going to tax the rich more and get more money in from a growing economy we need to set competitive rates.”

Tyrie went further in his attack on his party’s policies, branding some of them “irrelevant” and “contradictory”.

He said “The big society, localism, the green strategy – whether right or wrong, these and other initiatives have seemed at best irrelevant to the task in hand, if not downright contradictory to it; likewise the huge spending hike on overseas aid and the cost of the Libyan expedition.”

Speaking before the release of a report he has written for the Centre for Policy Studies, Tyrie said current policy did not “adequately recognise” the fact that “the age of abundance has been replaced by the age of austerity”.

He strongly supported the government’s line on tackling the immediate crisis, it was reported.

But he said the government had “a long way to go” to arrive at a coherent strategy for securing better economic performance in the long term.

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