The House of Commons has had its last Business Questions for the year. Shadow Leader of the House Theresa May asked why the Government has failed to find time for a debate on the economy, and then teased Harriet Harman for good measure:
“commit to a debate on the economic slow-down, and the problems in the banking industry and their effects on the housing market”.—[ Official Report, 13 December 2007; Vol. 469, c. 465.]
She did not give us a debate in Government time then, and she has not given us that debate a year later—the debates on the economy have been chosen by the Opposition. Given that that the pound has now hit its lowest level against the euro and the German Finance Minister has said that the Government’s switch to “crass Keynesianism is breathtaking”, when will the Government give us a full debate in Government time on the economy?
“I know what it’s like for everyone, stuck in a job with an outrageous boss”.
Ms Harman responded thus:
"The right hon. Lady mentioned the economy. There will, of course, be a debate on the economy next Monday. As far as the German Finance Minister is concerned, Germany went into this world economic crisis with higher levels of unemployment and Government debt than us. However, it, too, has sought to recapitalise its banks; it, too, has benefited from a cut in interest rates; and it, too, has provided fiscal stimulus—in its case of €31 billion. It has taken action on its economy, and we have taken action on ours.
What a wit.
On Monday the Commons will debate portions of the Queen’s Speech that relate to the economy, pensions and welfare. It is not a debate specifically on the current economic crisis.