The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of John Reid John Reid Labour, Airdrie and Shotts 4:47 pm, 31st March 2009

It is a matter of measure, is it not? Yes, I would worry if we printed too much money, but we have to take the advice of the Bank of England and others on quantitative easing, as we have to do on other matters. Again, there is no issue about whether we should have quantitative easing or printing of money; the debate is about the extent, the application and the effect they will have.

I want to speak about an issue that has unfortunately not been mentioned in either of the speeches so far. When it comes to the second area—that of financial regulation—I shall express my view about the leaked communiqué. I do not usually like using such communiqués, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will know that for many years I condemned anyone using leaks; on this occasion, this was thrust into my hand as I approached the Chamber. Sections 14 and 15 are, in my view, very weak on a question that I believe is vital to the oversight and regulation of the financial sector—I refer to the word "transparency".

I believe that the three Graces that are necessary in order to revitalise that sector effectively are oversight, regulation and transparency, and the greatest of these is transparency. It is a crucial area with which to enhance oversight and regulation, but it must be done in a way that works with, rather than against, the market. That should be one of our primary objectives, because if regulation becomes an imposition—a punishment, a central diktat—that effectively tries to run the markets, rather than regulation, oversight and transparency being a means of assisting the rational workings of the market, we will end up not curing, but killing, the patient.

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