The Economy (Supporting Business)

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 4th June 2009.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North 1:40 pm, 4th June 2009

I thank Mr. Field for cutting short what was obviously a much longer speech; we saw him paging through it at the end.

I should like to pick up a few points and make a few remarks to the Government on how to move forward. Despite the need for caution and care, and despite the caveats and risks involved in what the Government are doing, the Government's approach to dealing with the crisis is absolutely right and it has already spared a great many of my constituents a great deal of hardship. Without the Government's strategy, I am sure that many more of them would have lost their homes, or been at risk of that happening, and that many more would have found that that they did not have jobs either. Despite the difficulty of managing such a profound recession, I think that we will see the benefits of the Government's approach.

It would be extremely nice to be able to discuss the comments made by Mr. Lilley and the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster, but there is no time for that. I will, however, pick up on a couple of points. First, it is completely wrong to say that the quantitative easing is anything like the printing of money in Zimbabwe. The asset purchase facility, coming on top of the asset protection scheme, has been well designed to deal with the toxic assets and get money flowing in the private sector. It has been absolutely the right approach.

If the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden is to lend money to the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster, I hope that he will conduct an honest assessment of the risks involved with that character, that he does due diligence and that he gets some proper security, because what caused the banking crisis were improper risk management, lack of due diligence and lack of proper security for the assets.

The Minister is not going to respond, but I will make three points to him. First, will he please make sure that there is a report on the results of bank lending to business? Like other colleagues, I think that the situation has not been as we would like and everybody wants such a report. Secondly, will he also make sure that his Department does real work with the Department for Communities and Local Government so that public spending on housing goes to local private contractors and so that local councils can manage things properly and support their local industries? Thirdly, will he make sure that the Government take into account the impact of their spending and efficiency reviews on the wider economy, so that—

One and a half hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings, the motion lapsed (Standing Order No. 24A).

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