The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 8th July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Richard Fuller Richard Fuller Conservative, North East Bedfordshire 5:45 pm, 8th July 2020

It is a pleasure to follow Gerald Jones. In a debate whose title is about the economy, too much of it has seemed to be a game of Top Trumps where every fiscal measure announced by the Government is met by a demand for them to do more—too frequently without regard to whether that will help and too frequently with little understanding of how to implement it in any case, so perhaps I can remind the House of two important things.

First, the growth of the economy relies on the private sector—its decisions, its actions and the risk taking by our private businesses and our private sector. The role of Government is to incite and encourage the private sector to act to preserve jobs. Secondly, I remind the House of the limits of Government in the economy. It is well accepted that the role of Government in public health is to mitigate public health risks, not to eliminate them entirely. Therefore, the Government should be on the front foot to reopen our economy at every possible opportunity.

We should also bear in mind the limits of Government in the capacity of international capital markets to accept borrowing. It might be of interest to hon. Members to know that the quantitative easing launched by Governments around the world so far this year is equivalent to $6 trillion—equal to half the amount that was put into public markets between 2009 and 2018.

There is a limit to what Government can do in the economy in fairness to generations to come. We should not be in the role of passing on debts—enormous debts—to future generations to pay off. Furthermore, there is another limitation that we should all be aware of: the competence of politicians and the state in doing what they promise to do. Government work essentially as a big beast with a big foot in a complex jungle. Sometimes, when they put their foot down, that footprint can have big impacts on the smallest businesses in our community.

In my constituency, small businesses are yearning to be open and yearning to grow again. I applaud the efforts of my right hon. Friend Caroline Nokes in her campaign to open up beauty clinics and the beauty sector. That is something the Government should be doing as an absolute priority, and it would be welcomed in my constituency.

My constituency has many freelancers and company owner-directors. I say to my hon. Friend the Minister, who has done an absolutely fantastic job in responding to MPs from across the country, please, please, please bear in mind the impact of Government policies on freelancers, particularly in the entertainment and theatre sector, by coming up with a specific date on which the theatre and live entertainment sectors can reopen.

Finally, it is important that the Government move forward on their reforms to how they deliver what they say they are going to do.