Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Wednesday, 22 July 2009


The cry goes up: we have to get the banks lending again. But they are lending again. The point is they are now lending more cautiously than they did before. Isn’t that exactly what we want them to be doing? What some commentators are really calling for is a return to the irresponsible lending of the recent past, the very thing that triggered this recession.

For several years there will be very few 100% mortgages on offer and businesses can expect to have to back up every pound they want to borrow with substantial capital and security. This is one reason why the economy will only grow slowly once we come out of this recession, because whilst the banks retain a corporate memory of the recent blood bath, prudence and caution will be their constant guides. This is to be welcomed, but it does mean that the growth spurts of the past ten years are a thing of the past.

But that is not the end of the story. We have to take into account the stark reality about government finances. Our public debt is spiralling out of control, with borrowing this year alone – just to pay the bills - of £175 billion, more than five times the defence budget. Commentators including the IMF are warning Britain that we have to get our debt levels under control and fast.  Whoever wins the next election will have to take action to cut back public spending and reduce some of this accumulated debt. That is bound to impact public sector jobs over the next few years.

Add all of this together. Unemployment is currently 2.4 million and still rising. Most of these jobs have been lost in the private sector and it is unlikely that our economy, for the reasons given above, will be creating masses of new jobs in the next few years. Factor in the likely job losses in the public sector over the same period and you do not need to be a genius to work out that employment prospects in the medium term are bleak, especially for younger people.

This is one reason why it is time for any government to now take a much tougher line on non-EU immigration. We need to cap the numbers coming to live and work here, especially at times like these. Let us equip our own workforce to take up whatever new jobs there are, before looking overseas.


posted by Gary @ 11:15