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Economic Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:17 pm on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 7:17 pm, 17th March 2020

I strongly welcome the Chancellor’s enormous loan and guarantee package, but he himself recognised that he is supporting the liquidity of businesses rather than their long-term viability. We want to see employment protected, so may I ask him to fund business not just in ways that enable the maintenance of employment, but in ways that actively incentivise it? It is not the same thing. Block grants will not do it. May I also ask him, when he does that, to do more than just taking the route of sectoral support packages? If he takes that route, tens of thousands of small businesses will fall through the cracks.

That, unfortunately, means an incredibly tailored system. The Chancellor will have to design rather intricate mechanisms to ensure that we pay people properly, which may involve small claims courts, the insurance business and British chambers of commerce and the like. I ask him to consider doing that, however. What he has done today is important in terms of maintaining liquidity, but his main aim must be to maintain the viability of the British economy.