The Economy

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

I shall come on to that in a moment. The hon. Gentleman supports his party in believing that we should not be spending any extra money. Time and again, Opposition Members say they want more of this and more of that, but they are not prepared to find the money for it. I believe it is important to support businesses, and one way in which we do so is by supporting the wider economy. When we consider what we have done—the £20 billion that went into the economy last year, the automatic payments into the economy through lower tax receipts and higher benefit payments—we see that we have increased such support as a percentage of what we produce. We have provided about the same level of support as the United States, Germany and China—indeed, most countries in the G20 have been prepared to take action because they recognise that it is necessary to support their economies and families and businesses.

We can afford to take that action because we were prepared as we came into this—[Hon. Members: "What?"] To put it another way, I firmly believe that we cannot afford to take no action. If we did so, the cost would be far greater. That is why the IMF said only in February:

"Some countries entered the crisis with greater fiscal space to expand".

It cited:

"Canada, China, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S."

We were in a position to take action, and we did so. The Opposition would have turned their backs on the people of this country. They would not have done what was necessary—just as they did not in the 1980s and 1990s. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website