The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 9:03 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 9:03 pm, 31st March 2009

"Boom and bust" is one soundbite that we have not heard too recently—I understand that the Prime Minister has used that phrase 120 times since he has got into this position, although we do not hear it too often now—but it has come to underline some of the problems that we face. Ms Clark, who has just spoken, talked about the confusion in coming to terms with the complexity of the economic downturn. We have had an awful lot of policies, but nothing new or concrete to change the way in which things are happening.

We have also had plenty of soundbites, to the point where the nation cannot keep up. We started by understanding who or what Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were; the credit crunch was a new term; we then encountered toxic assets and quantitative easing; and even the G20 is a new phenomenon—it used to be the G7 and then the G8, but it suddenly jumped and became the G20. It is almost as if words are being created just to show that the Government are on top of the issues and know where they are going, whereas it is all a bit of a bluff and all they are is one step ahead of the public. Now the public are catching up with what has happened.

The G20 summit is an opportunity to see how other countries are dealing with the economic crisis, and who has made sure that their economy is in order in the past. The tide of prosperity is going out, some economies are not wearing any swimming trunks, and it is not a pretty sight. We are one of those countries.

I wish to focus on a specific part of the economy. Many hon. Members have spoken in general terms about what needs to be done or who is to blame. I want to look at part of the economy that is actually doing well—the British tourism industry. People may ask why I should bring that up as a subject in a general debate on the economy— [ Interruption. ] It does not have a high enough profile, and the fact that hon. Members are laughing about that shows that we need to spend more time understanding the benefits of British tourism for the economy.

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