Britain's credit rating is 'not the be all and end all', says Danny Alexander

 

Britain's credit rating is “not the be all and end all” Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said.

His comments come shortly after Conservative Chancellor George Osborne hailed confirmation of Britain's gold-plated AAA credit rating by a key agency.

The Chancellor last month said the verdict from Standard & Poor's showed the "world has confidence" in the coalition's economic policies.

But in a BBC interview played on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Alexander said: "The credit rating is not the be all and end all, what matters is have we got the right policy mix for the country to get people back into work, to support economic growth, to deal with the huge problems in our public finances.

He added: "The credit rating agencies reflect on those things and the ratings they give are a reflection of the credibility of that mix.

"We have to make a judgment about what we think are the right policies for the UK, the credit rating agencies then make their judgments on the basis of that."

Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie warned against shaping economic policy around credit ratings agencies.

He said: "I do think it's a fundamental danger to structure all of your economic policies to orientate around the opinions of credit ratings agencies, rather than on the facts of the economy.

"These can be very conservative with a small 'c', orthodox economic viewpoints and they have been wildly wrong before."

S&P said its outlook for the UK's coveted rating was stable and predicted the economy would pick up in the coming months.

The news was a boost to Mr Osborne after dire GDP figures prompted heavy criticism of his performance and the Government's austerity measures.

Growth figures released last month showed the UK economy sliding deeper into recession with a 0.7% fall in GDP between April and June.

PA

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