Household Budgets

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 1st March 2007.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough 10:30 am, 1st March 2007

What assessment he has made of the impact of his policies on the household budgets of mortgage holders over the past 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Government's macro-economic framework in the past 10 years has delivered unprecedented stability and rising prosperity, which means that households benefit from rising employment, strong income growth and low and stable interest rates.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

I know that householders will be grateful for low interest rates under this Government. Even the present, slightly increased interest rates are lower than those that prevailed for all but seven months of the years up to 1997. Has my hon. Friend noticed that our Government's record is significantly better than that in the 18 preceding years, in which interest rates were in double digits for 11 and a half years?

Photo of John Healey John Healey The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is tough to make household finances meet at the best of times, particularly if one has to make mortgage payments on top of other expenses. Clearly, it is very much tougher if interest rates are not at 5.25 per cent., as they are now, but at 10.5 per cent., which they averaged for the entire period in which the Conservative Government were in office.