Eurostat publishes GDP growth data on all EU member states. These data show the UK economy growing in the most recent three quarters. The IMF’s latest forecast shows the UK economy growing this year, and growing faster than the economies of France, Germany and Italy next year.
When we embarked on the economic course that the Government have set, Ministers told us that because they were tackling the deficit aggressively, there would be a surge of private sector confidence—and, therefore, investment and jobs. Many people agreed with them. Now that we know that expectation was mistaken, surely there must be a change of course.
Every reputable international organisation that talks about what is happening in the UK economy now recognises that the Government need to stick to the course, rather than throwing away the valuable credibility that we have gained as a consequence of tackling the mess left behind by the previous Government.
It is remarkable, is it not, that when the Leader of the Opposition was asked whether a Labour Government would join the euro, his answer was:
“It depends how long I’m prime minister for.”
This Government have closed down the euro preparations that the Labour party set up, and that is why I think that we have taken the right decision to stay out of the euro and tackle our debt and deficit problems. That is why we have low interest rates, which help strengthen the recovery in this country.