The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 9:46 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) 9:46 pm, 31st March 2009

It will be in place next month.

We listened with interest—as always, of course—to what the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge had to say, and we understood from his speech that he disagrees with the Government. What many people are puzzled about, though, is why the Conservatives have so little to offer in this crisis—a point made very powerfully by my right hon. Friend Mr. Meacher. Why have they so failed, over a period, to set out some vision for the future—a credible response to the unprecedented economic challenges that we face?

One reason is simple: recent events have destroyed a linchpin of Tory ideology, and the Tories have not yet found anything to put in its place. The Tory party is ideologically wedded to deregulation. When we legislated for the Financial Services Authority 10 years ago, the then shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury said:

"we believe that regulation should be minimal" and that one of their concerns about the Bill was

"the danger of over-regulation."—[ Hansard, 28 June 1999; Vol. 334, c. 42-44.]

The Tory critique was that the FSA was an example of over-regulation.

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