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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:02 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Geoffrey Robinson Geoffrey Robinson Labour, Coventry North West 3:02 pm, 24th March 2011

I shall in a moment, but Rory Stewart is first.

The figures for every crucial forecast area of activity are pointing in the wrong direction. Unemployment is up, growth is down, inflation is up, bizarrely, and Government borrowing is up—the very thing they are meant to be getting down—as measured against the OBR forecasts. Those are the only measures we can use to judge whether their policies are working. We can look at the past and it is clear that they are not, but to see whether they are working, we have to look at the forecasts. The Government’s whole policy is predicated on such forecasts, but look at the figures now—down, down, down! Every single indicator is going the wrong way, but they still say that we have to press on with their programme—plan A or whatever it is. I think I heard the Business Secretary say, in response to an intervention from an Opposition Member, that some flexibility is built into the Government’s plan A. I do not know whether he will elaborate on that or whether I misheard—we will see in tomorrow’s

Hansard whether I did. I did not raise the issue at the time because I was not sure whether I had heard right—I could not believe it. If there is some flexibility, the sooner it is acknowledged, built in and practised the better.