The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Peter Lilley Peter Lilley Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden 5:38 pm, 31st March 2009

Well, let us not add to that problem by some un-automatic excessive borrowing.

The other half of the dilemma is that if the whole world tries to save less than it is producing, output and/or prices will fall in a deflationary spiral—the point that the right hon. Lady was making. The only way in which we can reconcile those two truths—that we cannot solve too much borrowing by more borrowing, and that we cannot simultaneously, across the world, all try to spend less than is being produced—is that the countries that have borrowed too much must, sooner or later, start saving, and those that have been running prudent surpluses should start spending more. The Prime Minister is misguided in trying—to offer himself cover—to persuade everyone to do the same thing: to run discretionary deficits simultaneously. Equally, the German Chancellor is mistaken if she is correctly reported as telling everyone to do the same thing: to strive to reduce their deficits simultaneously. The spenders need to start saving and the savers need to start spending. It will not be easy to co-ordinate that, but if the Prime Minister, as chairman of the G20, does not realise that we need such a bifurcated approach, it will not happen. That should be the agenda for the G20. It is sad that he has mistaken the recipe that he is trying to cook up at that meeting.

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