Britain could end up like France on 'Fallout Friday' if Labour wins, says Osborne in warning five years' work to repair economy could 'evaporate in five minutes'

  • EXCLUSIVE: Chancellor warns global investors could turn backs on UK
  • Osborne tells MailOnline that Britain could face French-style job losses
  • Insists the only way to stop Miliband is to vote for David Cameron as PM 
  • Vows to cut benefits for under-21s so they take jobs instead of migrants

Chancellor George Osborne told MailOnline that ‘five years of hard work can evaporate in five minutes’ if a weak Labour government is propped up by the SNP

Chancellor George Osborne told MailOnline that 'five years of hard work can evaporate in five minutes' if a weak Labour government is propped up by the SNP

Britain could be plunged into a French-style economic crisis on 'Fallout Friday' if the election outcome is unclear, George Osborne warned today.

The Chancellor told MailOnline that 'five years of hard work can evaporate in five minutes' if a weak Labour government is propped up by the SNP, leading to rising unemployment and higher borrowing seen under France's socialist president Francois Hollande.

In his final interview before polls open, Mr Osborne raised the spectre of global investors turning their backs on the UK, with employers of all sizes putting expansion plans on hold and forced to consider laying off staff.

With polls showing the result is still too close to call, he warned any vote for Ukip, the Lib Dems or Greens would help put Ed Miliband in Downing Street, as he insisted 'a win is a win' for the Tories.

It comes amid growing speculation that Mr Miliband could become Prime Minister even if he finishes behind the Tories - winning fewer MPs than Mr Cameron.

This is because the Tories - even if they are the largest party - may not have enough seats either alone or with the Lib Dems to form a majority.

In this case, a combination of Labour, SNP and other left-wing parties like Plaid Cymru and Northern Ireland's SDLP could force Mr Cameron out of Downing Street and install Mr Miliband in his place. 

Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell today confirmed the only hurdle Mr Miliband needed to clear to become PM was to be able to assemble a majority of MPs to back him in a vote of confidence.

Speaking to MailOnline today Mr Osborne said the UK faces both immediate and long-term threats if Labour is propped up by the SNP.

 Five years of hard work can evaporate in five minutes

He said: 'We face Fallout Friday if we have this weak Ed Miliband minority's government propped up by Scottish Nationalists and the deal they'd do with them.

'First of all, I think the confidence in the economy that we have established over five years can evaporate in a very, very short period of time. Literally five years of hard work can evaporate in five minutes.

'The rest of the world will take one look at the UK and say hold on they've just elected this anti-business, high-taxing, high borrowing government.

'And to boot it's also got Scottish Nationalists who want to break up the UK propping it up.'

In his final interview before polls open, Mr Osborne raised the spectre of global investors turning their backs on the UK, with employers of all sizes putting expansion plans on hold and forced to consider laying off staff

In his final interview before polls open, Mr Osborne raised the spectre of global investors turning their backs on the UK, with employers of all sizes putting expansion plans on hold and forced to consider laying off staff

Mr Osborne, pictured arriving in Loughborough on his 24-hour tour of England, said global investors could turn their back on Britain if they believe the economic recovery is in doubt

Mr Osborne, pictured arriving in Loughborough on his 24-hour tour of England, said global investors could turn their back on Britain if they believe the economic recovery is in doubt

He said global investors could turn their back on Britain if they believe the economic recovery is in doubt.

'Investors in our country from overseas would say maybe this isn't the best time to put some money into the UK, and businesses here. Small businesses and large - will say well maybe this isn't the best time to hire that extra employee.

'Indeed maybe I need to start making some economies in my business and getting rid of some people. That is what happens and it happens very, very quickly.

'You can see that reflected - as many of the big international investment banks and investors have said - very, very quickly.'

He drew parallels with the impact of the election of President Hollande on the French economy.

'You know France elected a left-wing high-borrowing government a couple of years ago and within a matter of weeks the sentiment about France had changed dramatically, and the jobs weren't created and the world took a view that France was not an economy that was going to go grow.

'And sure enough the people of France felt that in their pockets, in their lost jobs.'

David Cameron was joined by his wife Samantha on the final stretch of the election campaign at a housing scheme in Lancaster this afternoon

David Cameron was joined by his wife Samantha on the final stretch of the election campaign at a housing scheme in Lancaster this afternoon

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband makes a speech to party activists during a General Election campaign stop at the Muni Theatre in Colne, Lancashire today

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband makes a speech to party activists during a General Election campaign stop at the Muni Theatre in Colne, Lancashire today

Nick Clegg joined the Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander at a distillery near Inverness this afternoon on the final stretch of his Land's End to John O'Groats campaign tour

Nick Clegg joined the Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander at a distillery near Inverness this afternoon on the final stretch of his Land's End to John O'Groats campaign tour

He also warned that over the long-term, the UK would become 'a place where it's just much harder to create jobs, much harder to secure family incomes, much harder to see living standards rise'.

Mr Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats from the Scottish borders to Essex.

Beginning his tour in Berwick, the Chancellor's bright blue campaign bus worked its way south taking in Alnwick, Stockton, Pudsey, Ravenshead, making its final stop last night at a Thornton's chocolate factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Today he helped roll bread in a Morrison's bakery in Loughborough, loaded parcels at a DPD depot in Corby and rolled out barrels at Charles Wells Brewery in Bedford.

In the end who do we this for? We do it for the working people of Britain 

He said he wanted to show he was on the side of people who work around the clock to provide for their families.

'In the end who do we this for? We do it for the working people of Britain,' Mr Osborne said. 'That's who I am on the side of, that's who I fight for.

'And the people we met, the people working the night shift in the chocolate factory in Derbyshire, the people getting in the dark hours in the morning to go and work in the bakery in Morrison's in Loughborough, people who have just been coming off the night shift at the sorting office in Corby.

'These are people working incredibly hard, they don't have some big trade union they don't have a pressure that's going to go on the BBC and fight their cause.

'It's the Conservative party who fights for these people. They all pay their taxes, they work long hours to provide for their families.

'I am not going to put at risk their economic security and everything that they have worked hard to achieve by handing this economy to the people who crashed the economy five or six years ago, allied with Scottish Nationalists who would add political chaise to economic chaos.'

Election ballot boxes began being delivered across the country today (including to Sheldon Community Centre, near Birmingham above) ahead of tomorrow's knife-edge election

Election ballot boxes began being delivered across the country today (including to Sheldon Community Centre, near Birmingham above) ahead of tomorrow's knife-edge election

Sunderland council worker Tara Shanks prepares ballot boxes in the city's civic centre today, with polls set to open at 7am tomorrow morning

Sunderland council worker Tara Shanks prepares ballot boxes in the city's civic centre today, with polls set to open at 7am tomorrow morning

Mr Osborne refused to be drawn on whether the largest party is the only one which can form a legitimate government, insisting: 'It's very straightforward. If people want to have David Cameron in Downing Street they have to vote for that, they have to vote Conservative.'

Privately many of the Chancellor's Tory colleagues believe the party will end up with around the 300 MPs it won in 2010.

But Mr Osborne was still insisting: 'We are within touching distance of that stable strong majority.'

'So we are fighting for those 23 seats that we need to get a majority. Before the election I think it's better to focus on the issues and try to get people to make that right choice.

You should be careful what you wish for

'After the polls close we can spend all the time you like talking about the results.'

Many expect the Tories to have to turn to the Lib Dems to form a majority, renewing the coalition struck in 2010.

But Mr Osborne warned that just because a power-sharing deal worked five years ago, does not mean it can be repeated.

Some of the senior Lib Dems with whom he has worked most closely, including Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexandr, face losing their seats in tomorrow's election.

'I think it's important for people to realise that not all hung parliaments are like the ones we've just been through, we did make a coalition work and we did have stable government,' Mr Osborne said.

'But those circumstances might not present themselves again and most hung parliaments in our history have been very difficult and chaotic and we've had weak governments.

'So you should be careful what you wish for. With the Liberal Democrats I'm afraid Nick Clegg has made it very clear that he could see himself working with Ed Miliband and the Scottish Nationalists.

'If you are reading this in a Liberal Democrat seat, I'm sure the local Lib Dem MP is saying no, no don't worry, vote for me and David Cameron will remain prime knitter, but that is simply not true.

'Vote Liberal Democrat and you could get Ed Miliband as Prime Minister and the Scottish Nationalists in charge.' 

 

'I'll cut benefits for school leavers so they take British jobs instead of migrants', Osborne vows

George Osborne, who tried his hand at rolling dough on a visit to a Morrison's store in Loughborough, said benefits changes would tackle the country's skills shortages

Plans to force school leavers to 'earn or learn' will prepare them to take jobs which would have otherwise gone to migrants, George Osborne claimed.

The Chancellor said Tory plans to ban under-21s from claiming housing benefit and the dole were part of efforts to instil fairness in the welfare system to support those who need help but those who work, should.

He said he hoped it would equip young Britons with the skills businesses need so they become less reliant on foreign labour.

Mr Osborne has pledged to cut £12billion from the welfare bill after the election, but has faced criticism for failing to spell out where the axe will fall.

He claims the question has been raised in interviews but not on the campaign trail. Voters 'know we have been able to make these savings and create a fairer welfare system', he said. 

A leaked government report today revealed options which were put to ministers in 2014 for benefit cuts, including scrapping maternity pay, limiting payments by family size and barring the under-25s from claiming incapacity benefit or housing benefit.

Mr Osborne insisted he had never seen the paper which is more than a year old. 'If I'd wanted to do any of those changes, we would have put them into place. We haven't. Our welfare reforms are getting people back to work. They delivering the jobs, they're reducing inequality.

'In the end with welfare we do face a simple choice, you either go on reforming welfare and have a system that's fair to those that need it but also those who have to pay for it - the working people of this country.

'Or you can uncontrolled unlimited welfare paid for on borrowed money and higher taxes on working people and I think that's a massive mistake.

'Not least it traps people in poverty as well as causing the country all sorts of problems.'

Last night Mr Osborne also tried his hand at packing chocolate Easter bunnies at the Thorntons factory in Alfreton

Last night Mr Osborne also tried his hand at packing chocolate Easter bunnies at the Thorntons factory in Alfreton

A key plank of his plan to bar under-21s from claiming housing benefit or Jobseekers Allowance, to encourage them to stay at home and continue studying or get a job.

'It's not about ideology, it's about people's opportunity. It's not fair to a young a person to have them condemned to a life on the dole form the moment they leave school or college and get trapped on a welfare system where it pays to stay at home.

'Where they get their housing paid for because they're not in work. We are saying to young people, look you've got a really simple choice. You can either be earning money or learning, or in some cases doing both.

I want to make sure that people here in this country have the skills to do those great jobs

That's why we want to expand apprenticeships to get three million more apprentice.

'That's why we want to reform so you can't autocratically get Jobseekers Allowance when you come out of school at 18, you can't automatically get housing benefit.

'There are plenty of working people aged 18 or 19 who are living with their parents who can't possibly afford their own place. They're going out and doing a job and paying for someone who could work but isn't working getting their housing benefit.'

He boasted that already three-quarters of the increase in the number of people in work came among people born in the UK.  

'That's very, very different from the situation under Labour where you had uncontrolled immigration and because people didn't have the skills or the school system wasn't turning out enough people with the right skills.

'There weren't people here able to do those jobs. I want to make sure that people here in this country have the skills to do those great jobs.' 

 

My greatest moment as Chancellor? Meeting Chewbacca

He boasts about turning the economy round, taking Britain back from the brink.

But George Osborne today revealed the most exciting moment in his time as Chancellor was meeting Chewbacca on board the Millennium Falcon.

The secret tour of the set of the new Star Wars film was just one stop on a seemingly tireless attempt to add to his photo album before polling day.

After running the Conservative campaign in 2010 – an experience he clearly didn’t enjoy – he has done his best to enliven an otherwise dull campaign with a series of Mr Benn-style photo opportunities, popping up in marginal seats in hi-vis and hair nets, rolling dough, packing chocolate and frying steak. 

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Tory Chancellor George Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats ahead of polling day, trying his hand at packing chocolate, rolling dough and pulling pints
Tory Chancellor George Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats ahead of polling day, trying his hand at packing chocolate, rolling dough and pulling pints
Tory Chancellor George Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats ahead of polling day, trying his hand at packing chocolate, rolling dough and pulling pints

Tory Chancellor George Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats ahead of polling day, trying his hand at packing chocolate, rolling dough and pulling pints

Mr Osborne revealed the highlight of his time as Chancellor came during a visit to Pinewood Studios on Monday (pictured)

Mr Osborne revealed the highlight of his time as Chancellor came during a visit to Pinewood Studios on Monday (pictured)

Mr Osborne insisted he had learned to laugh at his critics, including most recently in ITV’s new puppet show Newzoids – a modern day Spitting Image – which sees him looking ghostly pale in Bullingdon Club dress
The 43-year-old reveals the highlight of his time as Chancellor came as he met Chewbacca on board the Millennium Falcon

Mr Osborne insists he has learned to laugh at his critics, including most recently in ITV’s new puppet show Newzoids – a modern day Spitting Image – which sees him looking ghostly pale in Bullingdon Club dress. The 43-year-old reveals the highlight of his time as Chancellor came as he met Chewbacca on board the Millennium Falcon

Mr Osborne has undergone the most striking makeover in power, losing weight on the 5:2 diet, having a trendy new haircut to shed his image as a young Tory boy.

After bunkering down in the Treasury and being booed at the Paralympics, he changed tactic to embark on a seemingly relentless tour of Britain’s workplaces, trying his hand at everything from filling a barrel to pulling pints, tiling roofs and assembling vacuum cleaners.

Yet the impression of an out-of-touch Bullingdon Club member persists, most recently in ITV’s new puppet show Newzoids – a modern day Spitting Image – which sees him looking ghostly pale in the bow tie and tails uniform of the Oxford University drinking society.

If you can’t handle a bit of teasing in politics, you’re in the wrong game

Does it bother him? ‘In British politics actually satire and funny cartoons, it’s all part of it. It makes it healthy democracy. I laugh sometimes when I see the cartoons.

‘If you can’t handle a bit of teasing in politics and a bit of satire, you’re in the wrong game.’

Labour’s Liam Byrne has been mocked relentlessly for leaving his note admitting ‘I’m sorry there is no money’. Is Mr Osborne drafting a similar note for his successor?

‘I’m planning to be back at work at the Treasury on the 8 May and making sure the country never again has to pick up the pieces and read one of those Labour notes,’ he says, bang on message.

He is, though, planning to find time to catch up on his favourite TV shows once the election campaign is over, whatever the result.

ALNWICK: Mr Osborne began his tour travelling the length of the country on Tuesday afternoon with a visit to Bailey's Cafe in Alnwick

ALNWICK: Mr Osborne began his tour travelling the length of the country on Tuesday afternoon with a visit to Bailey's Cafe in Alnwick

PUDSEY: He donned white gloves to work on part of a generator during a visit to Winder Power  in Pudsey

PUDSEY: He donned white gloves to work on part of a generator during a visit to Winder Power in Pudsey

NOTTINGHAM: He braved the heat of the kitchen to cook a steak during a visit to The Hutt pub near Nottingham, where he also went behind the bar to pull a pint

NOTTINGHAM: He braved the heat of the kitchen to cook a steak during a visit to The Hutt pub near Nottingham, where he also went behind the bar to pull a pint

‘One of the things I will do when the election is over, I’ve not really caught up with the new series of Game of Thrones so I need to start watching that. That’s on the to-do list,’ he says.

He struggled to name his favourite film and has not been to the cinema ‘recently’ but hopes to see Far From The Madding Crowd soon. He watches House of Cards ‘like lots of politicians’.

 We've got a long-term chocolate plan

On Sunday afternoon he was at home watching Chelsea take on Crystal Palace. ‘It was quite a lucky,’ he admits. ‘Chelsea have been brilliant this season, and I actually reject the criticism that they’ve somehow been boring over the last few games. They have done what they needed to do.’

It is a criticism that has been levelled against the Tory campaign too. ‘A win is a win, that is true, for whatever the blue team,’ he remarks with a smile.

David Cameron tied himself in knots in a campaign speech when he talking about supporting West Ham, despite claiming to be an Aston Villa.

Has Mr Osborne ever been confused about what side he supports? ‘I’m a Chelsea supporter,’ he says with a straight-face.

ALFRETON: He joined the night shift at Thornton's chocolate factory in Alfreton, where he helped to pack chocolate rabbits as part of preparations for Easter 2016. Chatting to a worker on the production line, he remarked how she wanted to stay with the firm for the foreseeable future, adding: 'We've got a long-term chocolate plan'

ALFRETON: He joined the night shift at Thornton's chocolate factory in Alfreton, where he helped to pack chocolate rabbits as part of preparations for Easter 2016. Chatting to a worker on the production line, he remarked how she wanted to stay with the firm for the foreseeable future, adding: 'We've got a long-term chocolate plan'

AFRETON: Mr Osborne also tried his hand at writing a message on a chocolate plaque, but almost ran out of space. When workers gave him only 8/10, he said there was room for improvement 'like the British economy'

AFRETON: Mr Osborne also tried his hand at writing a message on a chocolate plaque, but almost ran out of space. When workers gave him only 8/10, he said there was room for improvement 'like the British economy'

Mr Osborne embarked on a 24-hour tour of marginal seats from the Scottish borders to Essex.

Beginning his tour in Berwick, the Chancellor's bright blue campaign bus worked its way south taking in Alnwick, Stockton, Pudsey, Ravenshead, making its final stop last night at a Thornton's chocolate factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Chatting to a worker on the production line, he remarked how she wanted to stay with the firm for the foreseeable future. 'We've got a long-term chocolate plan,' he said, making a political point if not necessarily making sense. 

Early this morning the bus rolled into Loughborough, where Mr Osborne was greeted by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who is defending a majority of 3,700.

 I’m not allowed to reveal what I did see, but I can tell you I did walk on the Millennium Falcon and meet Chewbacca

The Cabinet ministers tried their hand at rolling dough in the bakery of a Morrisons store, before covering baguettes in cheese.

As Chancellor, Mr Osborne joked he is used handling dough, explaining the importance of 'handling it carefully, weighing it, making sure you've got the right numbers' as he helped roll loaves in a supermarket bakery.

He later loaded parcels at a DPD depot in Corby and rolled out barrels at Charles Wells Brewery in Bedford.

He said he wanted to show he was on the side of people who work around the clock to provide for their families.

'In the end who do we this for? We do it for the working people of Britain,' Mr Osborne said. 'That's who I am on the side of, that's who I fight for.

'And the people we met, the people working the night shift in the chocolate factory in Derbyshire, the people getting in the dark hours in the morning to go and work in the bakery in Morrison's in Loughborough, people who have just been coming off the night shift at the sorting office in Corby.

'These are people working incredibly hard, they don't have some big trade union they don't have a pressure that's going to go on the BBC and fight their cause.

'It's the Conservative party who fights for these people. They all pay their taxes, they work long hours to provide for their families. 

LOUGHBOROUGH: It was an early start this morning to be at Morrison's bakery for just after 6am to prepare dough for the day's loaves
LOUGHBOROUGH: It was an early start this morning to be at Morrison's bakery for just after 6am to prepare dough for the day's loaves

LOUGHBOROUGH: It was an early start this morning to be at Morrison's bakery for just after 6am to prepare dough for the day's loaves

LOUGHBOROUGH: Education Secretary Nicky Morgan (left) is defending a majority of 3,700 in the seat in Leicestershire

LOUGHBOROUGH: Education Secretary Nicky Morgan (left) is defending a majority of 3,700 in the seat in Leicestershire

LOUGHBOROUGH: Mr Osborne also helped prepare cheese baguettes and spoke to spprentices during his supermarket visit

LOUGHBOROUGH: Mr Osborne also helped prepare cheese baguettes and spoke to spprentices during his supermarket visit

Despite all these photo opportunities, he reveals his favourite moment of the campaign, and his entire time as Chancellor, happened away from the cameras on a visit to the highly-secretive Star Wars set on Monday.

Early this morning the bus rolled into Loughborough, where Mr Osborne was greeted by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who is defending a majority of 3,700.

The Cabinet ministers tried their hand at rolling dough in the bakery of a Morrisons store, before covering baguettes in cheese.

Speaking later, Mr Osborne told reporters he wanted to use the tour to highlight the efforts of Britain's workforce. 

He was at the Pinewood Studios to announce the eighth episode will be filmed in the UK, in a huge boost for the British film industry.

A win is a win, that is true, for whatever the blue team

‘For anyone of my age you grew up with Star Wars, and those great characters like Hans Solo and Chewbacca and so on,’ Osborne says.

‘I think to be honest those first three movies were just so iconic, and then the next three were a bit rubbish – sorry to anyone who worked on them…’

He has worked closely with Lucasfilm president Kathy Kennedy to ensure the new slate of films, directed by JJ Abrams, were made in the UK, snatching them away from rivals including Canada.

‘In total we reckon it could bring $1billion of investment into the UK,’ he boasts. ‘It creates thousands of jobs in all the different industries that supply the movie sector.’

But he is tight-lipped about what he saw on his visit. ‘I went to the Pinewood Studios to see… I’m not allowed to reveal what I did see, but I can tell you I did walk on the Millennium Falcon and meet Chewbacca.

‘It’s like walking back into your childhood. I couldn’t actually believe I was meeting these characters.

‘It was one of the most exciting days in the job. And it’s going to be great, from what I can see.

‘There’s a huge amount of craftsmanship going into the movie. The model making and the use of original film rather than digital, it’s going to be good.’

CORBY: To prove his willingness to do the heavy lifting in the election campaign, Mr Osborne helped load a van with parcels at delivery firm DPD

CORBY: To prove his willingness to do the heavy lifting in the election campaign, Mr Osborne helped load a van with parcels at delivery firm DPD

BEDFORD: Risking jokes about organising in a brewery, Mr Osborne had a go at hammering plugs into barrels at the Charles Wells Brewery

BEDFORD: Risking jokes about organising in a brewery, Mr Osborne had a go at hammering plugs into barrels at the Charles Wells Brewery

BEDFORD: Mr Osborne said he wanted to meet working in firms across the country to show he was on their side

BEDFORD: Mr Osborne said he wanted to meet working in firms across the country to show he was on their side

After five years in government and a decade on the front line of British politics, he is still a largely unknown figure to the public beyond the image as axe-wielder in chief.

His wife, Frances, is a successful author and Booker Prize judge and rarely seen in the Westminster bubble while his children have never been used in photoshoots like David Cameron’s or Ed Miliband’s.

‘I think for the party leaders, there is this tradition that their wives and husbands are involved,’ he says explaining his determination to protect his family’s privacy.

‘I think for other participants in politics, particularly when your other half has got a job, they get on and do that.’

That might change if, as many expect, he launches a bid for the Conservative leadership. ‘I’m so focussed on getting back to work in the Treasury on May 8,’ he says, diplomatically.

But David Cameron has vowed that even if he wins tomorrow, he will stand down before 2020.

‘If you allow me with 20 hours to go until the polls open, let me focus on the next 20 hours rather than the next five years,’ Mr Osborne says, as the bus pulled into a brewery. 

 

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