Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, by Wilfred Frost in Hastings on Tuesday 21st April.
Wilfred Frost (WF): Chancellor, yesterday we heard from the SNP. They outlined their manifesto. What did you make of Nicola Sturgeon's plans on spending.
George Osborne (GO): Well, the problem with the Scottish Nationalist plans is, as for more borrowing, more debt, I think that would lead to greater economic insecurity in our country. And of course, the whole Scottish Nationalist approach to this election, which is that they hold a government hostage, would also add would also add to economic insecurity. So, we've got a really clear choice in this election between the stability of David Cameron's plan - and the plan is turning around the British economy - and the alternative, which is Ed Miliband-Scottish Nationalists, which is insecurity and job losses for Britain.
WF: More borrowing, more debt - the phrases you just used there. Over the last 5 years, there's no doubt that we've made improvements on that area and the economy is certainly looking brighter than it once was. But do you regret setting yourself those targets on the budget deficit when you came into office which, of course, you have failed to meet.
GO: We said very clearly we would turn around the British economy and, 5 years later, you can see the deficit has halved, Britain is growing more quickly than most advanced economies in the world, indeed has just grown faster than any of the major advanced economies, and we've got a record number of people in work. So we have fulfilled our commitment to rescuing the economy from the crisis it was in, but the job isn't done. There's a huge amount more to do - to eliminate that budget deficit, to keep debt falling as a share of national income but, above all, to make sure we have a truly national recovery so that Britain sees the benefits of economic growth across the whole of the UK, such as here on the south coast of England.
WF: Also, I wanted to touch with you - you said that national recovery - the other phrase we hear a lot of course is the "long-term economic plan." Now the British Chamber of Commerce this morning came out with a letter to all the parties, not just your own, criticising short-term gimmicks. Vote-winning gimmicks that we've seen over the last couple of weeks from both parties. On your own party's policies we've seen changes in inheritance tax, right to buy extensions, and pension giveaways. Are those just short-term policies looking to win votes?
GO: Absolutely not. They're about building an economy that is based on saving and aspirations. Enabling people to own their own home, enabling people to leave something to their children, vesting for their retirement. Now these are things that are absolutely rooted in the deep seated instincts of the British people to provide for their future. And that works for the British economy as well. We have a long-term plan. We are committing to major infrastructure investments which will not be completed next year, or the year after, but will take many, many years to do. That's because that's a big project for the country's future, and if you don't have that long-term plan, then you are driven from one short-term economic crisis to another. Because Britain has a long-term plan, the jobs are coming, the prosperity is here, the investment is here, with a lot more to do. But let's not put it all at risk. In this election let's not put it at risk with the instability of an Ed Miliband-Scottish Nationalist government, anti-business agenda, and more borrowing and more debt.
WF: Just 16 days to go. The polls are incredibly close still. You spoke earlier and in your speech you said that you were still very confident of the Tory message getting across. But in order to win a majority, do you need people to vote tactically?
GO: No, we need people to vote Conservative. If you want to stop Ed Miliband and the Scottish Nationalists being in charge, and independent experts now saying that's the only way that Labour can get into office, you have to vote Conservative. And people when faced with that choice, and faced with the very positive agenda the Conservative party is setting out in this election, all the positive things we will do for this country, I think will vote Conservative. And they've got to be clear in this election that if you vote UKIP, that allows Ed Miliband in, if you vote Lib Dem, that allows Ed Miliband in. So we are saying the answer to all of these conundrums people have in local constituencies is very simple, which is vote Conservative. We're 23 seats short of an overall majority and that bring stability, economic prosperity, jobs, continuation of our plans working for Britain.
WF: Chancellor, my final question, perhaps a message you might want to give our international audience, were you to win a majority, what would be top of the agenda as Chancellor for the British economy?
GO: Well, it's very simple. To make this the very best place in the world to come, to invest, to grow a business and to employ people. Now, we've made huge strides. Britain I think is a very attractive home for investment but we can now make Britain the most prosperous of the major economies in the coming generation, and that's our ambition.
WF: Chancellor, thank you very much.
With CNBC in the U.S., CNBC in Asia Pacific, CNBC in Europe, Middle East and Africa, CNBC World and CNBC HD, CNBC is the recognised world leader in business news and provides real-time financial market coverage and business information to approximately 371 million homes worldwide, including more than 100 million households in the United States and Canada. CNBC also provides daily business updates to 400 million households across China.