The Economy and Business, Innovation and Skills

Part of Corporation Tax Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:10 pm on 26th November 2009.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:10 pm, 26th November 2009

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. The figures show that the amount of commercial lending is broadly the same now as it was just before we got into the banking problems in August 2007. Many businesses, for understandable reasons, have repaid very substantial sums, but we still have to make sure that credit flows into the economy-something that is particularly important as the economy begins to recover. That is why we are continuing to work closely with all the banks, and not just the ones that we own, to make sure that the credit is available. It is also of critical importance that people are able to see how much that credit costs, not just in terms of interest rates but in terms of fees and everything else. That is important in every part of the country, including Northern Ireland.

It is absolutely essential to have a policy on growth, and it is quite clear that the Opposition do not have one. Growth was barely mentioned in the shadow Chancellor's speech today, but the Government have taken action in relation to broadband provision, businesses, innovation and planning to ensure that we do get growth in the future.

People cannot say that they want to go for growth while in the same breath they commit to pulling support from the economy. We have to make sure that we get the economy into recovery. We need to get that recovery established, and ensure that we reduce our borrowing over a four-year period in a way that does not damage the economy. That is very important, but it is also important that we get growth for the long-term future.

In today's debate, we have had confirmation that the Opposition would not have done what was necessary 12 months ago. They have opposed every measure that the Government have introduced. They had no answers then, and it is clear that they have none now.

This Queen's Speech sets out some important measures that will make a difference to the economy. I commend the Gracious Speech to the House.

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