The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Chancellor of the Exchequer 3:49 pm, 31st March 2009

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the matter of the economy.

In the week when the G20 leaders and Finance Ministers meet here in London, I am glad to have the opportunity to start this debate on the economy. We are now facing the most difficult economic situation we have seen in generations, with negative world growth this year—for the first time in 60 years—world trade collapsing at the sharpest rate we have seen since 1965 and industrial production falling in 54 of the 57 largest economies. By way of example, in the past year alone 4.5 million jobs have been lost in the United States, and last week we heard that Japanese exports have dropped by some 50 per cent. So this week, we have to show together that we can agree international solutions for international problems.

Thursday's meeting here is the opportunity to show that countries can learn from what has happened in the past, and can work together with a commitment to growth. We want growth to be sustainable, and for that to happen it cannot be kept just for the richer countries but must be shared. Trade must once again drive growth, and a global recovery must benefit both us and the developing and emerging economies, not just to meet what we need to do today, but to serve our long-term interests in the future.

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