Mark Drakeford blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg for his ‘frankly implausible explanations’ regarding the financial crisis
The First Minister Mark Drakeford has blasted Jacob Rees-Mogg for his “frankly implausible explanations” for why the UK is in financial crisis.
Yesterday Jacob Rees-Mogg sought to claim that the Bank of England’s decisions on interest rates had caused the market turbulence over the last two weeks, rather than Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s plans to borrow more to fund tax cuts.
Speaking on the Today programme the Business Secretary had said that the crisis was “primarily caused by interest rate differentials rather than by the fiscal announcement”.
But Mark Drakeford said that he didn’t buy Jacob Rees-Mogg’s explanation.
Speaking on RTE this morning he said that “I’m afraid it’s not a credible explanation”.
“The first condition for making sure that things improve is to be able to recognize the root cause of the difficulty.
“Sending ministers have to offer frankly implausible explanations doesn’t, I think, lay the grounds for the necessary actions that we will need to be taken.”
He said that the financial crisis was causing a “series of anxieties for us” in Wales.
“First of all, we’re anxious for those people who need the help of the government the most – those people who have the least to begin with, and who face a difficult winter in any circumstances because of energy prices, food, inflation, and so on,” he said.
“We’re anxious for our public services because they need investment to make sure that they are capable of assisting people through that difficult winter. We know that firms continue to report anxieties, and difficulties of recruiting people to do the jobs that have to be done.
“The impact of inflation and energy price escalation on them as well. We know that we face a very challenging winter.”
‘Having a pop at the UK’
In a series of interviews yesterday Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg disparaged the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and suggested Kwasi Kwarteng could ignore potential forecasts of low growth and rising debt.
Independent OBR assessments of the UK economy will accompany the Chancellor’s plan to pay for his economic measures and reduce debt on October 31.
A lack of such forecasts during last month’s seismic mini-budget are thought to have contributed to the recent chaos in financial markets – with the pound plummeting, the cost of government borrowing soaring and the Bank of England forced to intervene.
In a pre-recorded interview on ITV’s Peston, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Let’s see what the Office for Budget Responsibility has to say rather than guessing what it may say.
“But its record of forecasting accurately hasn’t been enormously good.
“So, the job of chancellors is to make decisions in the round rather than to assume that there is any individual forecaster who will hit the nail on the head…
“There are other sources of information. The OBR is not the only organisation that is able to give forecasts.”
The Cabinet minister’s comments are unlikely to reassure investors seeking a firm commitment from the Government to get the nation’s finances under control.
Mr Rees-Mogg also lashed out at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it called for the UK’s economic support package to be more targeted and for fiscal policy to be tightened.
He said: “I think the IMF is wrong on both counts. I think it’s particularly wrong on energy, and frankly doesn’t know what it’s talking about…
“The IMF is not holy writ and the IMF likes having a pop at the UK for its own particular reasons. I’m afraid I would never lose too much sleep about the IMF.”
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