Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): But cannot the Chancellor see that because he is overspending and over-borrowing in the public sector he is squeezing the private sector, which is having to pay high and rising rates of interest if it can get credit at all? What does he say to people with Skipton mortgages or small businesses that cannot borrow a single penny?
Mr. Darling: As the right hon. Gentleman will know, we have taken steps to ensure that the banks increase the amount of gross lending that they are putting into the economy. At a time when private sector investment has stopped or reduced, if it had not been for the public sector intervention, the downturn would have been much greater than it is. As it is, we can see signs of increasing confidence-he will have seen the survey of manufacturers published yesterday, which is very encouraging. Across the world, we can see the results of Governments acting together and making a real difference. To remove that support prematurely, if indeed that is the Opposition’s policy today-who knows?-would be the wrong thing to do because it would be damaging to the country.