John Redwood questions Alistair Darling on over-spending and over-borrowing

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.


  1. Andy
    February 3, 2010

    Good grief this stuff just makes me angry.

    Firstly, Darling’s response is not an answer to the question asked. Secondly, what support does he think the public sector is giving to the private sector that its removal would make the slightest difference? All of the support initiatives I’ve heard reported about have cost millions and helped one or two. They would have done better to simply give the money out at random.

    I was going to write a long point-by-point attack on this ridiculous response, but it was making my blood boil. This response is effectively sticking two fingers up at the private sector — when will these bozos get it into their heads that every single pound that they spend comes from only one source: the private sector.

    I would say it is like being car jacked, but that would only be true if the thief told me it was for my own good, then told me to be grateful when he gave me my bus fare home.

  2. kevinH
    March 13, 2010

    No answer to the question

    Was it a question he could have answered or a loaded political question designed in such a “clever” way that it can’t be answered politically?

    In this case I think this was a very valid question. I own a business that can’t get any money (certainly not at sensible rates) at the moment – if I could I would be able to hire more people and push for more innovation in my business to emerge from the recession in a stronger position (and of course pay more tax!).

    A similarly valid question was asked by John in PMQ and the response from the Prime Minister was ridiculous.

    I feel that the responses showed contempt for Parliament and for the people John Redwood represents. Whether JR is a member of the Conservative Party of the Monster Raving Loony Party if he has been democratically elected and asks sensible questions it is a disgrace not to get a proper answer.

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