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During the last decade the introduction of strict fiscal rules has been an important part of the United Kingdom's macro-economic policy framework, which has delivered higher growth, lower inflation, more jobs and greater stability than existed in the years before Britain had a Labour Government.
I am grateful for that answer. I am also grateful for the consequences of the Government's policy, which include the hundreds of millions of pounds being invested in my constituency. Two examples are the building schools for the future investment and the investment in Hammersmith hospital, which is bidding to become the first academic health science centre in the country. What, however, is my hon. Friend's estimate of the prospect of that investment continuing if a third fiscal rule is adopted?
We have two central fiscal rules which have played a big part in the fact that the level of stability, growth and jobs has been higher over the past decade than ever before. The third fiscal rule that some have proposed would inevitably lead to deep public service investment cuts, amounting to more than £20 billion in the current year alone.
If, as he hopes, the Minister's right hon. Friend the Chancellor becomes First Lord of the Treasury, will the Minister—who, I am sure, will remain a member of his right hon. Friend's team—urge on him that when helping to determine the Government's future fiscal policies, he should agree with President-elect Sarkozy's strong belief in the importance of retaining large national gold reserves, and with his fierce criticisms of the incompetent behaviour of the independent European Central Bank?