16 October 2022

Darling: Capability to manage economic turmoil completely absent from Government

16 October 2022

Governments must “do more than people expect” during times of economic crisis, former chancellor Alistair Darling has said.

Mr Darling, who oversaw the Labour government’s response to the 2008 financial crash while chancellor between 2007 and 2010, said capability to manage the current economic turmoil is “completely absent”.

He told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show that what happened in 2008 “was not self-inflicted”.

He added: “It was in continental Europe and the European Union, it was in America, it was right across the world.

People need to have confidence that they know you know what you're doing, and that you're capable of seeing this through. If people doubt that, you're in trouble

“We were ready. We were prepared. We had a plan. We didn’t have to consult anybody else because we had our own currency, our own central bank, we could do this.”

He accused the UK Government today of “trashing” the Bank of England and failing to engage with the international community.

He added: “If you’re the chancellor or holding any senior position in government, people need to have confidence that they know you know what you’re doing, and that you’re capable of seeing this through.

“If people doubt that, you’re in trouble.”

Mr Darling’s comments come after Jeremy Hunt replaced Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor on Friday amid economic turmoil following the mini-budget last month.

Many of the plans outlined in the mini-budget have been reversed, and Mr Hunt has warned spending cuts are likely.

Meanwhile, Mr Darling joined calls for a general election, saying he believes Labour can win back seats in Scotland with a “clear prospectus” on what the party offers.

“I think there’s a lot there that Labour and others can get stuck into, which is why I’m confident that we will increase our representation,” he said.

“We need to do a lot better.

“I think under (Scottish Labour leader) Anas Sarwar and his colleagues, you know, we are on the road to doing that.

“All we need is a period of stability.

“We don’t want any more uncertainty and with all the problems that’s causing – people worried stiff about whether or not they can make ends meet – we need stability.

“And for that, frankly, we need a new government in the UK, not years of more uncertainty, which we’ve had for far too long now.”

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