By Tim Montgomerie
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The Chancellor George Osborne was on the Today programme this morning to defend his much anticipated decision to commit another £10 billion of British taxpayers' money to the IMF. He said that Britain has a massive interest in a stable world economy and that he was now confident that the IMF will have enough resources to deal with any problems that the world economy throws at it and that that would be true for many years to come. He said that it was "very unlikely" that the IMF will need any more money again.
He tried to reassure listeners that the extra commitment of funds was not risky. He repeated the well-worn fact that no nation has ever lost money from lending to the IMF. Any money that is used by the IMF will, he continued, be subject to full conditionality and would be lent to countries and not currencies. Countries in receipt of IMF money would have to show that they were undertaking appropriate reform measures.
Some Tory MPs have criticised the Chancellor's decision. Peter Bone said that it was “outrageous more taxpayers’ money is being risked". "We may," he said, "as well put £10billion in the nearest litter bin.” Douglas Carswell blogged: “Britain is due to stump up an extra £10 Billion to the IMF to help bailout the Eurozone. Makes you wonder how all those earlier bailouts have worked out?" The independent-minded Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, backed Mr Osborne's judgment however:
"This is not just sensible, it is essential. The IMF is the only fire-brigade available to the global economy. It is vital that the IMF has the necessary tools to deal with the current eurozone crisis and the risks to wider global financial stability."
Mr Osborne accused Ed Balls of opportunism. The Shadow Chancellor has said that €urozone nations should have shown the "colour of their money" before Britain and the IMF had again ponied up.
The Chancellor also used the interview to strike a conciliatory tone on the charity tax. He promised to sit down with charities and with philanthropists and to use the 12 month specified consultation period to get the policy right.