This was why ministers had focused so hard on economic growth in the run-up to the Budget, Mr Letwin told the environmental audit committee.
The words are in a sense a no-brainer as unemployment is indeed rising and GDP fell in the last quarter. But the word “crisis” was a dangerous slip of the tongue by Letwin.
Labour has jumped on the comments, unsurprisingly. Angela Eagle, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Oliver Letwin has let the cat out of the bag again. With unemployment at a 17-year high and the economy contracting, there is a jobs and growth crisis.”
Ministers styled last month’s Budget as a “pro-growth” event although the Office for Budget Reponsibility, indicated that its measures may have no impact on economic growth.