Some things George Osborne has said about the AAA credit rating

14th December, 2012 10:09 am

It looks increasingly likely that Britain will lose its AAA credit rating, with Standard & Poor’s putting Britain’s credit rating on negative outlook. When asked about this yesterday, George Osborne said “It wouldn’t be a good thing. But it’s one test, alongside others” – but that’s not what he’s said in the past.

Here are some things that George Osborne has said about the UK’s credit rating in the past:

1. When Britain was first put on negative outlook by Standard and Poor’s in 2009 George Osborne (then in opposition) called for an early general election:

“It’s now clear that Britain’s economic reputation is on the line at the next general election, another reason for bringing the date forward and having that election now… For the first time since these ratings began in 1978, the outlook for British debt has been downgraded from stable to negative.”

2. In May last year George Osborne claimed that moving off negative outlook proved that Britain had “economic stability”:

“Our credit rating had been put on negative watch. Now, however, thanks to the policies of this coalition Government, Britain has economic stability again.”

3. George Osborne has said safeguarding the rating was his “first benchmark” and a “measure of success”. He has also warned that a credit rating downgrade would be “humiliating” and that it is “absolutely essential” that Britain does not have one:

“Our first benchmark is to cut the deficit more quickly to safeguard Britain’s credit rating. I know that we are taking a political gamble to set this up as a measure of success. Protecting the credit rating will not be easy… The pace of fiscal consolidation will be co-ordinated with monetary policy. And we will protect Britain’s credit rating and international reputation.” – 2 February 2010

“I have argued it with my opponents in difficult economic times, when I warned them last autumn that the cupboard was bare and the discretionary borrowing had to stop – and now Britain faces the humiliating possibility of losing its international credit rating.” – 11 August 2009

“Of course the British government needs to be able to get its debt away, and by the way it’s not just in the City, you need to get it away around the world and that’s where a lot of international investors in British, in gilts, and indeed, as I’ve talked about actually in the Times today, you know, one of the things I’m very keen on doing, and that’s putting it mildly, is to preserve Britain’s international credit rating. You know it’s absolutely essential we don’t have the downgrade that hangs over the country at the moment.” – 8 October 2009

“What investor is going to come to the UK when they fear a downgrade of our credit-rating and a collapse of confidence?” – 27 February 2010

This is all going to look pretty embarrassing if/when Britain loses the AAA rating…

  • So, are you in favour of trying to keep it, or do you believe that it doesn’t matter?

    • aracataca

      Well Boy George, Lord Snooty and friends certainly don’t think it matters.

    • Dave Postles

      Your question is meaningless as a downgrade is almost inevitable in 2013.

  • More heads than Cerberus with a headache.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    The UK AAA credit rating, we were told, was the whole justification
    for the extreme austerity and for carrying out a whole raft of policies that
    would normally be considered unacceptable. It was for the preservation of the
    credit rating that the national debt had to be brought down as priority one and
    it was also why the on-going deficit had to be reduced and eliminated by
    cutting to the bone and beyond.

    To coolly state that it is not such a big deal after all, when his own austerity policy has failed so badly by the standards he set himself is just indefensible. It bankrupts this government’s whole credibility. It leaves Osborne and Cameron hanging on the very rope that they created.

    Am I surprised at this double standard? No. We have repeated been told that there is no money, and so in this state of national emergency we must accept things that would never normally even be considered. In short, services have to be cut, the public sector destroyed and the poorest especially have to be squeezed dry.

    Then when Cameron wants to wreck the NHS there the £30 billion cost is no object, the hare-brained PCC position and half-baked elections are fine to throw away the odd £100 million. We don’t need the money of the very rich (Tories and their pals) and so give them a rebate, and of course the cock-ups like the rail franchising may cost another £100 million or more. Bit of course if it is a Tory pet project then somehow that is all fine and dandy.

    This government deserves to be annihilated. The big fly in the ointment is that Labour is still only 10 or so points ahead mid-term. With this kind of performance we should be 20 to 25 points ahead.
    Labour has a long way to go, and it must do it as this government contains most
    of the seeds of its own destruction.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

    • aracataca

      Great post JP my thoughts exactly.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    The UK AAA credit rating, we were told, was the whole justification
    for the extreme austerity and for carrying out a whole raft of policies that
    would normally be considered unacceptable. It was for the preservation of the
    credit rating that the national debt had to be brought down as priority one and
    it was also why the on-going deficit had to be reduced and eliminated by
    cutting to the bone and beyond.

    To coolly state that it is not such a big deal after all, when his own austerity policy has failed so badly by the standards he set himself is just indefensible. It bankrupts this government’s whole credibility. It leaves Osborne and Cameron hanging on the very rope that they created.

    Am I surprised at this double standard? No. We have repeated been told that there is no money, and so in this state of national emergency we must accept things that would never normally even be considered. In short, services have to be cut, the public sector destroyed and the poorest especially have to be squeezed dry.

    Then when Cameron wants to wreck the NHS there the £30 billion cost is no object, the hare-brained PCC position and half-baked elections are fine to throw away the odd £100 million. We don’t need the money of the very rich (Tories and their pals) and so give them a rebate, and of course the cock-ups like the rail franchising may cost another £100 million or more. Bit of course if it is a Tory pet project then somehow that is all fine and dandy.

    This government deserves to be annihilated. The big fly in the ointment is that Labour is still only 10 or so points ahead mid-term. With this kind of performance we should be 20 to 25 points ahead.
    Labour has a long way to go, and it must do it as this government contains most
    of the seeds of its own destruction.

  • aracataca

    The loss of the AAA credit rating is definitely going to happen- no question.Borrowing is rising again because the economy is contracting not growing. However, Lord Snooty and co couldn’t care less because its Christmas every day for their tax avoiding mates. Unless this lot change course and focus exclusively on growth the rest of us will all be up the creek without a paddle come 2015.

  • Pingback: Cameron’s trouble with basic economics | Labour Mag()

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