The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:08 pm on 8th July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 4:08 pm, 8th July 2020

I have declared my business interests in the Register.

We need a job-rich recovery. I therefore strongly welcome the measures that the Chancellor has announced today. Some of those measures will save jobs. Some of those measures will create or stimulate new jobs. The Government are right to worry that we have lost too many jobs already over the closures and they are right to worry that we might lose more in the days ahead. They are right to make the changes they are making to the furlough scheme, to encourage as many of those jobs as possible to return, and they are also right to say that we cannot carry on with a furlough scheme indefinitely; there has to be a test of whether there is still a job there. If we roll it on for too long, there will be no real job left, and it becomes just a different kind of benefit, delaying the time when that person can retrain or find a better prospect for their work.

What do we need to extend this jobs recovery? First, we need plenty of money and credit around, so that it is available for the business to pick up and the incomes to rise. The new Governor is a welcome breath of fresh air. As I have mentioned before, the previous Governor went in for extreme austerity, which slowed the economy needlessly. The new Governor has corrected for that and made a very big boost at the beginning of this crisis, which has been extremely helpful. I see no need for the Bank to go to negative interest rates. I do not think the Swedish experiment with them was particularly helpful, and the Swiss experiment is specific to the pressure on the Swiss franc, which we do not have on the pound. I do not think we need to go to negative interest rates, but I would say that the Bank is in danger now of going rather slowly on the quantitative easing and loosening. We see that in some of the figures coming out.

If we compare our figures with those of the United States of America and the Fed, we see that the Fed is doing twice as much or more than the Bank of England, proportionate to the size of the economy. Some might think that perhaps the Fed is doing a little bit too much and the US might end up with some inflation, but we are in danger of not doing enough again, and I hope that progress will be made in getting the right adjustments.