Osborne in 2009: We must “sit up and listen”; 2012: ‘plays down threat’ to AAA rating

In 2009, George Osborne said we need to "sit up and listen" to the threat to the UK's AAA rating; today, he has tried to 'play down the threat' to our rating.

Much has been made of the importance of the UK’s AAA credit rating, not least by George Osborne when in opposition – so it’s a little hypocritical for him now, in government, to seek to play down its importance.

In 2009, after Fitch issued a AAA warning, the then shadow chancellor said:

We all need to sit up and listen to this latest warning from an international credit rating agency. Britain is singled out for concern over the size of our debt crisis, and the message could not be clearer: if we don’t start dealing with those debts, we will face a downgrade. When will Gordon Brown listen?”

Yet today, after the latest suggestion from Fitch that Britain could be downgraded, the Telegraph reports the chancellor has “played down the importance of Britain’s AAA credit rating”, having previously, as we know, “suggested that retaining Britain’s AAA rating – the highest possible – is a key measure of economic success”.

Osborne now says:

“It wouldn’t be a good thing, but the credit rating is one of a number of ways which people look at countries.”

Voters should also pay attention to the interest rate Britain has to pay on its government bonds, known as gilts, he adds – not quite the be all and end all he intimated previously.

Indeed, according to Andrew Lilico, an economist at Europe Economics:

“George Osborne said in 2010 that the way we should evaluate his performance as chancellor and the government’s economic strategy is whether or not they keep the AAA rating.”

Quite; if you live by the AAA rating…

2 Responses to “Osborne in 2009: We must “sit up and listen”; 2012: ‘plays down threat’ to AAA rating”

  1. stu

    lets start fracking. we could pay off the national debt 10 times over with the tax revenues.

  2. marge

    around 40,000 people extra die each winter than summer in the UK (excess winter mortality). this could be reduced to very small amounts by the massive reduction in gas bills that would come from large scale fracking in the UK.

    the several decades of cheap gas could fuel the full decarbonisation of the UK economny through money for renewables research and development.

    greens hate fracking because it means we don’t need to have a ‘lifestyle change’ and consequently they are not really ‘saving the planet’ – just being luddites

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