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Blair optimistic about economy

Tony Blair said today that he was reasonably optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in the period ahead.
The Prime Minister, appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee, insisted that the public finances were in a 'very, very strong position'.

He acknowledged that there were external risks to the economy from Europe and America as well as possible problems due to the housing market, the labour market and oil prices.

'I think we are reasonably optimistic about our forward growth,' he said.

He said public finances were in good shape and dismissed suggestions that they were based on 'inherently implausible assumptions' of future tax revenues.

He said that tax receipts were picking up and insisted that the Government would meet the Treasury's rules on tax and spending.

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