Finance Ministers' Meeting (Ireland)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:34 pm on 17th November 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 12:34 pm, 17th November 2010

The Chancellor made it clear this morning that we will do what we need to do in accordance with Britain's national interest. Ireland is our closest neighbour, and it is in our interests to ensure that the Irish economy is successful and that it has a stable banking system. He said that we stand ready

"to support Ireland in the steps it needs to take" to bring about that stability. The reality is that Ireland has got some things right. It has a flexible labour market and low taxes. None the less, it made the same mistake as the previous Government-it failed to regulate its banks properly. The problem in Ireland is driven not by high public spending but by a banking crisis. If we listened to the Opposition, the UK would be the only country that was weakening rather than strengthening its fiscal position.

It is clear that the actions we have taken have been welcomed by a range of bodies at home and abroad. What is happening at the moment demonstrates that concerns about sovereign debt issues have not disappeared. We should be grateful that, thanks to the actions of this Government, Britain has moved out of the fiscal danger zone.