DEPUTY Labour leader Harriet Harman defended her party’s policies on trade and commerce during a visit to Stroud this week.

Ms Harman was responding to claims by Chancellor George Osborne that Labour has a “deeply pessimistic anti-business agenda”.

Mr Osborne made the claims in a speech to the CBI on Wednesday, May 21, the same day as Ms Harman’s visit to the district.

Speaking to the SNJ, Ms Harman said: “He couldn’t be more wrong.

“At the start of 2010 we had started to get some economic growth going, then the Coalition Government came in and pulled the plug on the economy and stopped growth for three years.”

“Instead of criticising Labour Mr Osborne should be answering the question why, if the economy is recovering, are people still struggling to make ends meet?”

Ms Harman also answered questions on planning policy and free schools. However, she would not comment on how she thought UKIP would fare in the local and Euro elections and whether they were a threat to Labour votes.

“We are not worrying about what other parties are doing but instead focusing on putting forward our positive offer to the public,” said Ms Harman.

She also commented on the planning crisis happening in the Stroud district currently with developers lining up to build on on green fields.

“We need housing for younger people and older people but brownfield sites must be looked at first,” added Ms Harman.

“There have not been enough homes built on brownfield sites under the Coalition Government.”

After visiting the Stroud Labour Party offices in Lansdown, Ms Harman headed to Stonehouse to meet voters with Clare Moody, Labour’s new MEP for the South West.