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Government Capital Expenditure

Part of Opposition Day — [3rd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:55 pm on 2nd February 2009.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) 4:55 pm, 2nd February 2009

I hope that the hon. Gentleman also noticed what the IFS said about the effectiveness of the VAT cut as a stimulus to the economy. When he or Mr. Hammond speak later in the debate, as I hope they will, I would welcome clarification of their view about the fiscal stimulus that has been announced in the USA. The shadow Chief Secretary, the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge, told us in a debate a couple of weeks ago that there was an emerging consensus that there should be no fiscal stimulus in circumstances such as ours when there is a deficit. He will by now have noticed that this emerging consensus does not extend to the incoming US Administration. As the hon. Member for Twickenham rightly said, the US has higher debt than us and a larger deficit, and it is planning a larger fiscal stimulus. It would be very helpful if the Conservative Opposition could confirm to us their apparent view that there is a consensus that President Obama should abandon the central economic policy proposal he has put to the American people. This underlines just how isolated and out of touch the Conservative party is.

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