George Osborne minds the G20’s language

Ben Chu

george osbourne 415x275 150x150 George Osborne minds the G20s languageWhat’s the view of world leaders on propping up growth with short-term spending? It depends who you ask.

Here’s what Christine Lagarde said in her speech opening the IMF conference in Washington yesterday:

“If countries have solid measures to anchor savings in the medium and long term, they can do more in the short term to accommodate growth.”

But here’s what the communique of G20 finance ministers said:

“We are committed to supporting growth, implementing credible fiscal consolidation plans, and ensuring strong, sustainable balanced growth.”

What’s missing from the G20 statement is any reference to supporting near-term growth, something the IMF has repeatedly stressed in recent weeks.

This omission was drawn to the attention of the travelling pack of UK journalists here in Washington by George Osborne yesterday, who said:

“People might note that some of the language of the last couple of weeks about short-term and medium-term has disappeared there. We’re just on the straightforward argument that you have to have credible fiscal consolidation plans.”

This is interesting. The Chancellor normally affects to be perfectly comfortable with Ms Lagarde’s increasingly frequent calls for those nations with fiscal space to go slow on consolidation. But what Ms Osborne implied yesterday is that he managed to get that sort of language struck out of the G20 communique, and that he regards this as a victory. Which isn’t perhaps the behaviour of someone entirely relaxed with the IMF’s increasingly Keynesian prescriptions.

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  • Firozali A.Mulla

    Ben will you beleive this if I give this you as breaking news? Labour leader Ed Miliband has said his party would dramatically reduce the cap on student tuition fees if it returned to power. He said Labour would limit university fees to £6,000 a year – down from the £9,000 maximum introduced by the coalition, in interviews with The Observer and Sunday Mirror. The £1bn move apparently would be paid for by requiring graduates earning more than £65,000 a year to pay higher interest on their student loans and by cancelling the Government’s cut in corporation tax. The policy will put pressure on the Tories and particularly the Liberal Democrats who are accused by students of breaking pre-election promises not to raise tuition fees.  The Lib Dems’ U-turn on opposing fees sparked student riots last year. “Parents up and down the country are incredibly worried about their sons and daughters,” Mr Miliband said. He told the Sunday Mirror: “We want to take action to make it easier for people to go to university and not feel burdened down by debt. If we were in government now, we would cut the maximum tuition fee from £9,000 to £6,000 a year.” Mr Miliband said ditching the Government’s proposed cut in corporation tax from 28% to 23% was “fair” because “we shouldn’t be cutting taxes for the banks at the moment”. “They decided between themselves who will hold which job. It’s like a swap in chess – my bishop for your rook. “  IVAN V. CHAIKIN,  a Russian musing on President Dmitri A. Medvedev’s decision to step aside so that Vladimir V. Putin could become president again. This is the way the politicians live. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

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