Fraser Nelson is wrong on Britain’s AAA rating

Fraser Nelson claimed that the possibility of a Tory Government is all that is preventing the UK losing its AAA credit rating. An FT interview proves him wrong.

Yesterday The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson claimed that the possibility of a Tory Government is all that is preventing the UK losing its AAA credit rating:

“Fitch Ratings has today said that Britain’s AAA debt rating is more at risk than that of any other major nation because it needs “the largest budget adjustment…

“But then Fitch says, more or less, that it’s banking on George Osborne’s first budget to sort the mess out.”

He further noted that the Conservatives:

“have been talking to the debt rating agencies (Fitch, S&P etc) and given them informal indications of how much they would cut the deficit by. I suspect that these agencies have been given more detail than the public has”

Brian Coulton, the head of European ratings at Fitch, has given an interview to the FT:

“Q: Is the expectation of a Conservative victory at the general election a significant factor in calculating the UK’s sovereign credit rating?

We are obviously aware that there will be an election next year but our capacity to forecast the election outcome would not be a sufficient basis to maintain a ‘AAA’ rating. We believe that fiscal policy objectives will be reorientated over the course of 2010 regardless of which government is in power …

“Q: Have either Labour or the Conservatives given Fitch analysts more information about their post-election spending plans than is available to the public?

No.”

Nelson looks to be wrong on both counts.

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