The third and final theme of my speech is the alarming and deepening Crisis in the Eurozone.
The Crisis in the Eurozone is most interesting.
The current Crisis in the Eurozone demonstrates that it is vital that the EU has a coherent strategy for growth and jobs, but it must fully respect the balance of competence between member states and Community action.
They were in government for 13 years, they ran up the largest budget deficit in the European Union and they handed over office to us after an election in the middle of a Eurozone Crisis.
Does the noble Lord not agree that we in this country should be careful not to be too complacent or gleeful about the apparent Crisis in the Eurozone, given that we have the only currency that was driven out of the preliminary arrangements before the euro was created?
The Crisis in the Eurozone shows that unless we deal with our debts, there will be no growth.
The Crisis in the Eurozone shows that the consequences of not acting are severe, in terms of higher interest rates, sharper rises in unemployment and potentially even the end of the recovery.
We have been forced to deal with the largest public spending deficit in peacetime history, and the Crisis in the Eurozone has shown that the consequences of not acting are severe.
Consider also Mr Osborne's statement that the Crisis in the Eurozone shows that unless we deal with our debts, there will be no growth.
We now have the single currency, and the elephant in the room is the Crisis in the Eurozone.
It was European Finance Ministers, before my right honourable friend the Chancellor took office, who decided in May to apply that article to deal with the Eurozone Crisis at that time.
European Finance Ministers, including my predecessor, chose to apply that article in May to deal with the Eurozone Crisis at that time, but that temporary solution should not become a permanent way of doing things, and the time has now come for the eurozone to put in place its own mechanism for dealing with the imbalances in the eurozone.
This is a Crisis of the Eurozone, for which UK taxpayers are footing part of the bill.
On the question of growth, the noble Lord is again right to say that there is a problem; there is a Crisis in the Eurozone and with the euro.
Of course we did discuss what lies at the heart of the Eurozone Crisis, part of which is about banks that were hopelessly over-leveraged, over-extended and all the rest of it.
The Bill does not just provide a referendum lock on any future treaty change that transfers powers: it provides a framework for greater parliamentary control over many important decisions, including those which need to be taken shortly to help deal with the Eurozone Crisis.
Or there might be a financial Crisis in the Eurozone-as there has been recently-in which the circumstances have so substantially changed that it might be appropriate to go back for a second referendum.
In his evidence, Mark Hoban MP stated that: "The cost of the Crisis in the Eurozone is a reminder to us that we must make these processes work much more effectively".
Have you received any request from the Government this morning to give an urgent statement on the Crisis in the Eurozone?
As several EU members have said that the only long-term solution to the Crisis in the Eurozone is establishing a fiscal union, has the Chancellor made it clear to them that there is no possibility of Britain joining that?
Is it not true that the Minister has given the impression that we are wonderfully clear of any problems because the Eurozone Crisis is a matter for the Europeans and that all we are concerned about is not paying any money?
I certainly agree with my noble friend about the relative seriousness of different crises that are going on at the moment, and I repeat that the Crisis in the Eurozone is extremely serious.
That is happening against a backdrop of our having inherited the worst budget deficit in the G7 and against the more recent headwinds of the spikes in the oil price - it has increased by 60% in the past year - and the Eurozone Crisis, which we are all facing at the moment.
My second question is: do the Government admit that there would be no Crisis in the Eurozone without the euro?
We agree with him that the Crisis in the Eurozone requires more decisive and radical action than we have seen so far.
What recent assessment he has made of the financial Crisis in the Eurozone.
The financial Crisis in the Eurozone is extremely serious.
Given that the Crisis in the Eurozone was caused by some member states having too much debt, would it not be a good idea - rather than increasing those debts with further bail-outs - for this country to press for the European treaties to be amended to allow a country to leave the euro while remaining in the European Union if it still wished to do so?
They are, in my view, using the Current Eurozone Crisis as an opportunity to go for further integration.
As we heard over the summer, the desire in Europe to move towards fiscal union has accelerated, and the Eurozone Crisis is being used to support ever-closer union and to further federalist ambitions.
There is no doubt that a solution to the Eurozone Crisis is urgently needed.
It is right that he has today updated the House and the country on the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone.
With the Eurozone Crisis deepening, and in advance of Wednesday's debate, will he tell us today whether he still believes that Britain is out of the danger zone and that we are still a “safe haven” in a turbulent world?
The bail-out-and-borrow approach to dealing with the Crisis in the Eurozone has not worked.
I suggest that we focus on the immediate issue at hand, which is resolving the Eurozone Crisis.
They have seen growth stall under the Chancellor's policies and now they see the Crisis in the Eurozone.
Although the Chancellor is completely focused on the Eurozone Crisis, I am sure that it will not have slipped his notice that meanwhile the European Commission and the European Parliament are asking for more regulation and more money.
Will the Deputy Prime Minister set out what he and his Government are doing to ensure that swift and decisive action is taken in relation to the Eurozone Crisis?
In the short term, Britain desperately needs to get behind the solution to the Eurozone Crisis, because it is having a chilling effect on the whole of the European economy and the American economy as well.
growth in the previous nine months; further notes that families are feeling the squeeze, unemployment is rising again and the recovery was choked off last autumn, well before the Eurozone Crisis of recent months; agrees with the International Monetary Fund's managing director that ‘growth is necessary for fiscal credibility' and the IMF's recent report which warned that ‘if activity were to undershoot current expectations and risk a period of stagnation' the Government should ‘consider delaying some of their planned consolidation'; further notes that borrowing is forecast to be £46 billion higher than planned because of the slower growth and higher unemployment arising from the Government's policy of cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast; further believes that the Government need a plan for jobs and growth if the deficit is to be reduced in a sustainable way; and calls on the Government to implement a steadier deficit plan and the Opposition's five point plan for jobs, which includes a tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people, bringing forward long-term investment projects, reversing temporarily the VAT increase to provide an average £450 increase for a couple with children, implementing a one-year cut in VAT on home improvements, repairs and maintenance to five per cent, and a one-year national insurance tax break for small firms taking on extra workers.
That is why we also need a solution to the Eurozone Crisis, which has hit all western economies.
As for policies to secure recovery, we can all agree that, given the Eurozone Crisis, the international economic outlook is much worse than forecast either by the right hon. Gentleman in his Budget 18 months ago or by the Office for Budget Responsibility this spring, and I am sure more surprises will follow.
He spoke eloquently about the deepening Eurozone Crisis, and also about the prospects for Greece and Portugal, which frankly are not too good.
On Sunday, the European Heads of Government meet to consider the Eurozone Crisis, and we have our own debate on this issue on Monday.
Is the Prime Minister confident that, despite the Eurozone Crisis, those targets will be achieved?
What assessment has the Prime Minister made of the consequences of the Eurozone Crisis on UK regional export-led economic growth?
As I said yesterday, the Eurozone Crisis has clearly had a chilling effect, not only on eurozone economies, but on our economy, the American economy and economies elsewhere in the world.
The amendment called for an in/out referendum at the appropriate time, namely following the resolution of the Eurozone Crisis.
The British people want to know that no more powers will be given away without their consent; that at a time of budgetary restraint, EU institutions will be faced with the financial reality, which is what our Prime Minister is doing; that we will address the Crisis in the Eurozone with clarity about what should be done, while minimising the exposure of the British taxpayer, which is what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are engaged in; that we will make a passionate case for Europe to take measures that help growth and free up businesses to trade and expand, which is what we are doing; that we will do nothing to add to economic uncertainty at a difficult and dangerous time; and that we will seek to repatriate powers as the opportunity arises, which is my position and that of the Prime Minister.
Moreover, the Crisis in the Eurozone and the consequent move to create a tighter fiscal union among its 17 members will have a direct and profound impact on the United Kingdom.
Over the weekend and in the earlier statement the Government argued that now is not the right time to hold a referendum because of the Crisis in the Eurozone, but it is precisely that crisis that has demonstrated to us how bound up in Europe we have become politically and economically and how little influence we have over the decisions that are taken.
I take this opportunity to put on record the fact that we must have a fundamental renegotiation of our relationship with Europe, but we do not live in a bubble, and we must pay attention to the Crisis in the Eurozone and to politics in our own country.
There are many reasons for that - the US, the Crisis in the Eurozone, and our country's indebtedness and excessive taxation - but one fundamental reason is that we are overburdened with European regulation.
If the Eurozone Crisis has not been resolved by then, we are all in much greater trouble than we thought.
What it will be absolutely necessary to do this evening is deal with the key elements of the Eurozone Crisis, which is acting as a drag anchor on recoveries in many other countries, including our own.
We know that the Prime Minister's real focus has, unfortunately, not been on sorting out the Eurozone Crisis; it has been on sorting out the problems on his own side.
On the day of the Eurozone Crisis, we have a Prime Minister who has spent the last week pleading with his Back Benchers, not leading for Britain in Europe.
My Lords, I am answering questions on the Eurozone Crisis.
The economy has stagnated, unemployment has soared and confidence has nose-dived - and that is all before the effects of the Eurozone Crisis have been felt.
The Crisis in the Eurozone has caused instability in financial markets, has greatly undermined confidence around the world, and is having a chilling effect on economic growth in many countries, including our own.
With the UK economy flatlining since this time last year - before the Eurozone Crisis of recent months - and with only Greece and Portugal growing more slowly than Britain, is it not time that we had a plan for jobs and growth - across Europe, yes, but here in Britain too?
I welcome the Chancellor's statement that resolving the immediate Crisis in the Eurozone and securing the long-term future of the euro currency are in Britain's national interest.
This Government's flawed choice to cut too far and too fast before the recovery was secure stalled growth in the economy long before the Eurozone Crisis.
Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a statement on the Eurozone Crisis.
The Minister, in his response to the debate, will undoubtedly claim that our growth problem is due to the Eurozone Crisis.
Furthermore, at the moment, Ukraine is vulnerable to the Crisis in the Eurozone because obviously those countries are part of its major export markets.
My Lords, is it not high time that the usual channels got together and arranged for a debate in this House on the Crisis in the Eurozone, since we have had no opportunity other than on Statements and Questions to pursue the matter so far?
Would my noble friend consider very carefully the need for us to have a major debate on the Crisis in the Eurozone?
Unfortunately, as the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, touched on, we have a problem as to what the Crisis in the Eurozone does for our UK banks and financial institutions.
Of course, collapse of the euro would devastate jobs, too, and so we have a responsibility outside the eurozone for helping to solve the Eurozone Crisis.
In the wake of the Eurozone Crisis, the latest polls show that the UK Independence party is within 1% of replacing the Liberal Democrats as the third party in British politics.
It has been reported in the run-up to today's G20 meeting that the Treasury is preparing to increase our contribution to the International Monetary Fund bail-out funds, despite the Chancellor giving the impression to this House that there would be no additional contribution from the UK to help solve the Eurozone Crisis.
Far from our economy being a safe haven, our recovery was choked off last autumn, well before the Eurozone Crisis.
As the Chancellor has said, the biggest single boost to the British economy this autumn would be a lasting resolution to the Eurozone Crisis.
On any viewing, the G20 failed to reach its aims on growth, on the imbalances or on the Eurozone Crisis, which is as bad now as it was a few days ago.
Obviously, many people will comment on the ultimate failure of the G20 to resolve the Eurozone Crisis, but the G20 has made good steps forward in areas such as trying to roll back protectionism, and particularly on the issue that the right hon. Gentleman raises about globally significant financial institutions and the impact that they can have.
Clearly, it is in China's interests, just as it is in our interests, that the Eurozone Crisis is dealt with.
I would not underestimate the huge pressure that the eurozone leaders are under to come up with a solution to the Crisis in the Eurozone.
The Minister started the debate by referring to today's news about the Eurozone Crisis.
It is vital that member states retain their flexibility to adjust prudential requirements to respond to emerging systemic risks and cyclical variations in economic activity, which, as we have seen in the build-up to the Eurozone Crisis, can be very large.
I beg to move, That this House believes that the Government's policies of cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast have resulted in the UK economy flat-lining for 12 months, well before the Recent Eurozone Crisis; notes that unemployment has reached a 17-year high and youth unemployment has hit a record level of 991,000; further notes that slower growth and higher unemployment makes it harder to get the deficit down and that the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts £46 billion more borrowing than the Government planned; further believes that with long-term youth unemployment up by 64 per cent.
He should also remember that we are now in the middle of the biggest financial Crisis in the Eurozone in decades, perhaps in modern times, and that our labour market is not immune to that.
First they blamed the snow, then they blamed the royal wedding, and now they blame the eurozone, but the truth is that the economy was flatlining and unemployment was rising before the Eurozone Crisis hit.
We can talk about the Crisis in the Eurozone, international terrorism or climate change, but how we plan for the needs of our ageing population is incredibly important.
With the Eurozone Crisis, Chancellor Merkel has already said that if the euro falls, there will be war in Europe.
Today I have written to the Leader of the House to say that the European Scrutiny Committee is deeply disturbed by the lack of formal parliamentary debate on the Eurozone Crisis.
I do not think the Minister can deny - I welcome his intervention if he thinks otherwise - that some of the additional IMF money will be routed through to the Eurozone Crisis.
I referred to the Irish loans because the Government line to date has been that our liability to the Eurozone Crisis stops at the bilateral loan to Ireland and at our existing £6.
I suggest that the Government's line on this issue - their approach to the Eurozone Crisis - is symptomatic of their flawed approach generally to the euro.
What we want is strong leadership that repatriates powers back to this country; that stops the salami-slicing of our political sovereignty; that encourages the establishment of a genuine free market in Europe; and that actually guards against our liabilities to the Eurozone Crisis.
The idea that we are not interested in what the IMF bail-out is - or, indeed, in the fact there is a Eurozone Crisis - is clearly wrong.
If the Government fail to act as an honest broker, stepping up to show the leadership that many hon. Members have urged in today's debate and so that the ECB becomes lender of last resort and that the EFSF has enough weight to become an effective firewall, the Eurozone Crisis may well deepen further.
Returning to a previous point, I suggest that the reason why the Eurozone Crisis is causing a bit of a problem over here is that existing policy is making the situation worse.
The credit rating agencies may not have precipitated, or even significantly exacerbated, the Eurozone Crisis, but the oligopoly's sins of omission or commission can do real damage.
The announcement of the downgrade, therefore, should have been very carefully checked before the judgment was given in the first place, given France's linchpin position in the Eurozone Crisis.
The Government rather downplay the report's criticism of the rating agencies' performance prior to the sovereign Crisis in the Eurozone.
That has happened because of the Chancellor's economic decisions before the Eurozone Crisis.
My Lords, the Government inherited falling youth unemployment, yet this is the eighth consecutive monthly rise in unemployment and precedes the Eurozone Crisis.
My Lords, is it not becoming rather ridiculous that we still have not had a debate on the Crisis in the Eurozone?
With the economy flat-lining, bank shares in decline and a deepening Crisis in the Eurozone, he could easily have made the case that circumstances had changed.
5% growth well before the Eurozone Crisis, which cannot therefore be entirely to blame for choking off recovery.
I beg to move, That this House notes with concern that UK economic growth is flatlining and was choked off well before the Recent Eurozone Crisis, that youth unemployment is now more than one million and that Government borrowing is therefore expected to be £46 billion higher than forecast over the Parliament; further notes with regret that the Government has failed to deliver a credible growth plan, is undermining critical industries in which the UK must compete, is failing to use strategically procurement and other tools to drive growth and innovation, and is holding back regional growth with its flagship projects mired in inertia and with most business still waiting for Regional Growth Fund money seven months after the recipients were announced; therefore calls on the Government to deliver a growth plan that provides an immediate boost to the economy to increase demand and growth, including a £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people and build 25,000 more affordable homes; and further calls on the Government to bring forward long-term investment projects to get people back to work, to reverse the damaging VAT rise of January 2011 for a temporary period giving families a £450 boost and providing immediate help for the UK's high streets, to provide a one-year cut in VAT to five per cent.
In fairness to the Business Secretary, when the figures came out his unofficial spokesperson, the noble Lord Oakeshott, told The Guardian: “It's ridiculous to blame this rise in unemployment on the Crisis in the Eurozone.
I beg to move, That this House notes with concern that UK economic growth is flatlining and was choked off well before the recent Eurozone Crisis, that youth unemployment is now more than one million and that Government borrowing is therefore expected to be £46 billion higher than forecast over the Parliament; further notes with regret that the Government has failed to deliver a credible growth plan, is undermining critical industries in which the UK must compete, is failing to use strategically procurement and other tools to drive growth and innovation, and is holding back regional growth with its flagship projects mired in inertia and with most business still waiting for Regional Growth Fund money seven months after the recipients were announced; therefore calls on the Government to deliver a growth plan that provides an immediate boost to the economy to increase demand and growth, including a £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people and build 25,000 more affordable homes; and further calls on the Government to bring forward long-term investment projects to get people back to work, to reverse the damaging VAT rise of January 2011 for a temporary period giving families a £450 boost and providing immediate help for the UK's high streets, to provide a one-year cut in VAT to five per cent.
We also know that growth began to stall before the effect of the Eurozone Crisis kicked in, and that even now the full impact of that crisis has not yet been felt.
My Lords, given that the Eurozone Crisis is potentially more damaging than the one of 2008, is the Minister aware of the IMF statistics that show that over 50 per cent of the Italian, German and French debt is held by non-residents, thereby ensuring that if there is a crisis it will not be confined to the European continent?
There was no agreement at the G20 for an increase in resources for the IMF because, understandably, the Us and other key non-European countries want to see the euro area core's willingness to contribute to the Eurozone Crisis before they commit.
May we have a debate on the increasing level of Crisis in the Eurozone, following the news that yesterday even Germany, which everyone was hoping was going to bail out the eurozone, was able to find buyers for only two thirds of its debt bonds for the first time since it scrapped the Deutschmark and adopted the euro?
I submit that the cost-benefit analysis proposed by this Bill is long overdue, and that it is made even more urgent by the long-foretold Crisis in the Eurozone.
My Lords, we are caught between Utopian ideology and harsh reality which, throughout the Eurozone Crisis, has yielded to illogical, irrational arguments and behaviour.
Of course, our crisis looks relatively marginal compared with the Crisis in the Eurozone.
My Lords, the economy has already suffered two major negative demand shocks, one from the Government's excessively rapid fiscal retrenchment and the other from the Crisis in the Eurozone.
In addition to the Eurozone Crisis, the OBR gives two further reasons for the weaker forecasts.
Of course one of the consequences of the Ongoing Eurozone Crisis has been an increase in bank funding costs across the European continent.
We are looking at partnership schemes and other things that might work within the envelope, and of course we are vigilant about conditions in the broader economy - including issues such as trade finance - that might be affected by the Eurozone Crisis.
As he knows, the Chancellor and the Treasury are looking at all contingencies, because reports yesterday showed that the Crisis in the Eurozone is having a real impact on our economy.
The right hon. Gentleman's premise is that the Opposition would not have borrowed more money, but that is fundamentally false, as the reality is that they would have borrowed billions more to deal with the Eurozone Crisis.
Its third point is that the Eurozone Crisis is “likely to have contributed to weaker UK growth and business and consumer confidence.
The OBR said that the Eurozone Crisis is “likely to have contributed to weaker UK growth and business and consumer confidence.
There may be other preoccupations nearer home, such as the Eurozone Crisis or the recession, but I am asking noble Lords to look at the drama going on every day in countries suffering from poverty and injustice.
We have a Eurozone Crisis.
There is a real urgency about managing the Eurozone Crisis.
The Labour party really has taken the most extraordinary position; in this week when we have the European Council meeting coming up, those in the Labour party are literally the only people in Europe who think that the Eurozone Crisis is not having an impact on the British economy or the other European economies.
Last week I answered questions from Members who wished to ask me about the detailed policy measures in the autumn statement, and I am happy to answer such questions again today, but I thought this might also be a good opportunity to address three broader issues: first, the Crisis in the Eurozone; secondly, how we believe that the UK banking system should respond to the ongoing crisis and the advice that we received on Thursday from the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee; and thirdly, given the eurozone debt crisis and the banking issues that we face, why the credibility of our fiscal policy must be constantly reinforced.
Let me turn from the Eurozone Crisis to what all this means for our banks.
Both the slow repair of our banking system and the Crisis in the Eurozone were identified by the Office for Budget Responsibility as causes of weaker economic activity.
Secondly, it attributes the current weakness in the economic position to the lack of confidence caused by the Eurozone Crisis.
I acknowledge that the Eurozone Crisis is having an impact on the economy now, but growth in our economy was choked off well over a year ago.
That is not just because of the Eurozone Crisis.
Before the hon. Gentleman moves on to his next point, will he accept that economic growth was choked off well before the Eurozone Crisis?
There is obviously a contraction, and a contraction that prefigures the Eurozone Crisis.
We stand on the edge of the abyss, and we have a Eurozone Crisis that is not being solved.
” Last week, when we had the autumn statement, the headlines were that the OBR had downgraded its forecasts, but what worried me more than anything, and what was not said anywhere or by anybody in the House, was that the OBR could not quantify what a Crisis in the Eurozone would do to the British economy.
The British national interest means absolutely that we need to help resolve this Crisis in the Eurozone.
As I explained, we will have the key aim of helping to resolve the Eurozone Crisis, and we believe that means European eurozone countries coming together and doing more things together.
As Europe changes, of course there will be opportunities, but the first priority at the end of this week must be to ensure that the Eurozone Crisis, which is having such a bad effect on our economy, is resolved.
Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that a key factor in achieving growth, as well as in resolving the Eurozone Crisis, is to take action in Britain's interests to tackle and reduce the huge regulatory burdens on small companies, so many of which come from Europe?
In addition, the Eurozone Crisis is increasingly likely to create exceptional needs and political incentives for the euro countries to act in the interests of their own eurozone of 10.
What concerns me about the latest proposals for Eurozone Crisis prevention measures is that they simply will not work.
There is therefore no doubt that our top priority should be to solve the Eurozone Crisis.
As my hon. Friend will be aware, this is not the first time European leaders have met to try to resolve the Crisis in the Eurozone.
The Eurozone Crisis is testing us and is close to pushing us back into a no-growth, or even a recessionary, period.
They think that Anglo-Saxon light-touch regulation and the success of financial services are partly to blame for the Eurozone Crisis.
The third, and obviously the most important, issue that the Council has to address is the Crisis in the Eurozone.
I say to this Government that, for a year, they ignored the impending Crisis in the Eurozone.
We agree that the priority should be given to providing a lasting solution to the Eurozone Crisis, because we think it is in the national interest, but we also say that Britain should have a strong voice in these negotiations.
If the Eurozone Crisis continues to deepen, it will have serious implications for jobs, businesses and banks in the UK.
The Crisis in the Eurozone is forcing the European Union and the eurozone 17 in particular to confront fundamental choices.
Will the Minister give an indication as to how the Eurozone Crisis has impacted on the EU's foreign policy and its ability to deploy soft power in an area such as the Balkans?
That is in Britain's national interest because the Crisis in the Eurozone is having a chilling effect on Britain's economy too.
That is in Britain's national interest because the Crisis in the Eurozone is having a chilling effect on Britain's economy too, so the question at the Council was not whether there should be greater fiscal discipline in the eurozone, but how it should be achieved.
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his robust support for the decision that our Prime Minister took at the summit meeting last week and agree with him that the priority for the EU ought to be - for the eurozone countries in particular - fixing the immediate and urgent Crisis in the Eurozone, which is having a chilling effect not only on the UK economy, but on prospects for growth and job creation more generally in the global economy, and particularly the western economy.
If the Eurozone Crisis deepens, it will have profound implications for our economy.
The Government's policies are already choking off the recovery and have made us more vulnerable to the Eurozone Crisis.
Those countries are using the current Crisis in the Eurozone as a cover to advance their agenda, and the fiscal compact is deepening and strengthening their desire - and the mechanisms that go with it - to build that European superstate.
Let me turn briefly to the question of this attempt, this device, this spurious method that people are trying to stitch together to give the measure some degree of authority despite all the realities of the Crisis in the Eurozone and in the European Union as a whole.
European leaders may well reflect on the negotiations in Brussels and say that it would have been better to give the Prime Minister the concessions and reassurances that he was seeking rather than force us out and force us into using the veto, thereby delaying the possibility of a proper and sensible negotiation of a resolution for the Eurozone Crisis.
It is right and important for eurozone countries to take the action that they deem necessary to deal with the Crisis in the Eurozone.
I beg to move, That this House believes that the Government's policies of cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast have resulted in the UK economy flat-lining for 12 months, well before the Recent Eurozone Crisis; notes that unemployment has reached a 17-year high and over-50s unemployment has risen sharply; further notes that slower growth and higher unemployment makes it harder to get the deficit down and that the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts a further rise in unemployment to 8.
I am concerned about whether this is going to be a broken promise by the Prime Minister - or, worse still, that it means that the Government have no plan to deal with the Eurozone Crisis.
It was good to hear the shadow Chancellor acknowledge at the end of his remarks that the biggest single threat to British businesses, as I think he put it, is the Current Eurozone Crisis, which is an analysis we share.
We want to see the Eurozone Crisis resolved in an orderly way for the obvious reason that implosion and disorder on the continent of Europe would undermine one of our chief markets.
A Crisis in the Eurozone presents the most imminent threat to growth in this country.
The Crisis in the Eurozone is having a chilling effect throughout Europe, which is why this Government are arguing vigorously within the European Union for action to promote growth by deepening the single market, boosting trade and cutting red tape.
We should be debating the Eurozone Crisis as a whole in a three-hour debate on the Floor of the House, which my Committee has unanimously called on the Government to provide, but when I and my hon. Friends the Members for Gainsborough (Mr Leigh) and for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) repeated our calls this morning for a general debate it was denied by the Government, yet again.
The European project is completely misconceived, and it is failing; the Eurozone Crisis will ultimately lead to collapse.
Growth has been flatlining in our economy since well before the Eurozone Crisis - in fact, since his spending review in autumn 2010.
It is not merely a Eurozone Crisis; it is a crisis of the European Union as a whole.
Critically, it is for the eurozone countries to address the Crisis in the Eurozone.
Does that strategy still exist, given the Eurozone Crisis?
He decided that keeping his Back Benchers happy was more important than helping our main export market resolve the Eurozone Crisis.
The resolution of the Eurozone Crisis is manifestly in our national interest.
Secondly, the Government keep talking about wanting fiscal discipline to sort out the Eurozone Crisis.
There is a chilling effect on the economy already because of the Crisis in the Eurozone, and it would be considerably worse if there was a real banking problem in the whole of the eurozone and the whole of Europe, which would leak into us.
The Eurozone Crisis has now become a major global risk, but the member countries seem wholly incapable of addressing it and its root causes properly.
My Lords, does my noble friend accept that the so-called democratic deficit is developing in this country and in wider Europe, perhaps to be greatly exacerbated by the Eurozone Crisis?
Following my noble friend's question about the Crisis in the Eurozone, what is the Government's policy towards unelected Governments of so-called experts in Greece and Italy?
The combination of higher commodity and oil prices last year and, more recently, the Crisis in the Eurozone is affecting all developed countries, many of them much more than the UK.
As hon. Members are well aware, we face extremely tough economic circumstances as we weather the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone and fix the underlying damage that the previous Government inflicted on the economy.
First, on the causes of why businesses are not seeking loans to invest, that has much more to do with the Eurozone Crisis and the global economy in general.
My Lords, economic growth has been weaker for reasons that include, particularly at the moment, the Ongoing Eurozone Crisis.
It was deviations by several states from this hoped-for path of fiscal discipline that built up into the Current Eurozone Crisis, for which new rules on closer fiscal integration aimed at trying to correct the problem had to be hastily hammered out over recent months.
I recognise that it is inevitable that the debate will be dominated by the Eurozone Crisis.
I wish to concentrate on the Crisis in the Eurozone.
I am a Germanophile, and I have long admired the discreet position of Chancellor Merkel in Europe, representing first the unity of East and West and now encouraging and perhaps underwriting unity in Europe during and beyond the Eurozone Crisis.
My Lords, the dramatic unfolding of the Eurozone Crisis, in particular the inevitable focus on the handling of the Greek situation, risks obscuring the more fundamental underlying debate about the eurozone that, in my view, has to take place.
My Lords, the Eurozone Crisis, the very weak European economies and excessive government debt have taken the spotlight away from some major and significant EU achievements of late.
The Minister ranged widely in his elegant opening remarks but the debate has tended to concentrate on the Eurozone Crisis.
It may not be surprising that the Eurozone Crisis has dominated all other policy aspects at recent meetings of the European Council and seems set to continue to do so, but it obscures the fact that events in the world outside the EU continue to occur at a dizzying rate.
GDP fell throughout Europe at the end of the previous quarter, unemployment in the eurozone is at a record high and we continue to face uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone Crisis.
The Crisis in the Eurozone is having a chilling effect on growth across Europe.
The European Union is our biggest trading partner, and a resolution to the Eurozone Crisis is clearly in our national interest.
We are right to stress that the response by the Government and centre-right Governments across the EU to the Eurozone Crisis has been economically inadequate, and any worsening of the crisis will have a devastating impact on our economies.
It is a pleasure to participate in this welcome debate, which, as my hon. Friendthe Member for Stone (Mr Cash) said, allows for the expression of a wider spectrum of the opinions in the House on matters germane to the European Union and the Crisis in the Eurozone, and I am grateful to him for securing it.
That comment may not receive total consensus in Northern Ireland, but given what we have seen of the Eurozone Crisis and the impact of the global financial situation, being part of a much bigger economy - the United Kingdom economy - and out of the eurozone has been of enormous benefit to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
We have secured for this country economic credibility and stability in the most intense global storm, with the Eurozone Crisis and rising oil prices.
With the current Crisis in the Eurozone, I suspect that other countries are already starting to think in those terms.
The difficulties created by recession and the Crisis in the Eurozone are considerable.
We all know about the economic outlook and the Crisis in the Eurozone.
Although the Eurozone Crisis has damaged economic growth rates across the continent and globally, it is a testament to this Chancellor and this Government's handling of the public finances that the deficit reduction figure was ahead of target this year, while at the same time achieving a growth rate in the economy of 0.
Quite apart from our own horrendous legacy, we have to contend with the threat of high oil prices and the currently stabilised but continuing Crisis in the Eurozone.
Especially given the Current Eurozone Crisis, we cannot carry on kidding ourselves that our future depends on our trade with Europe.
The Eurozone Crisis is not over.
Last December, the Grand Committee had an urgent debate on the Eurozone Crisis attended by some 50 Members of the House.
My right hon. Friend rightly says that a well funded IMF and a bigger eurozone bail-out fund cannot be the whole solution to the Eurozone Crisis.
Things are still going very badly wrong across the eurozone, as we saw only yesterday with the collapse of the Dutch Government because of the fall-out from the Eurozone Crisis.
The Eurozone Crisis, for example, which has now spread from the Mediterranean to Holland and France, results from exactly the same austerity policy that is being implemented in this country.
On top of all that, we have the Eurozone Crisis, which in all probability is about to blow up, and as the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, said, what are we debating today, tomorrow and for days on end following the gracious Speech-not a plan for growth and recovery in the economy but a plan for House of Lords reform.
It is to the credit of the Government, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that throughout This Eurozone Crisis they have been ready to accept that in order to get the crisis eased, or at best overcome, there will have to be substantial changes in the eurozone.
It is to the credit of the Government, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that throughout this Eurozone Crisis they have been ready to accept that in order to get the crisis eased, or at best overcome, there will have to be substantial changes in the eurozone.
What do the Government say is the UK's position on the change in arrangements and structure of Europe that is being proposed in some quarters and which will inevitably have to be given effect to deal with the Eurozone Crisis?
The ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone makes the task even harder.
A debate on business and the economy at the current time would not be complete without reference to the Eurozone Crisis.
The financial uncertainty caused by the Eurozone Crisis is the biggest single obstacle to our economic recovery.
This has been a high-quality debate at a time when a strong, intelligent British voice has never been more important, as the world faces a number of complex, high-stakes challenges: the Eurozone Crisis; the negotiations between E3 plus 3 with Iran aimed at securing Iranian compliance with its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty; enduring poverty and growth inequality in a world where more than 70% of the poorest now live in middle-income, not developing countries; the appalling repression and violence in Syria; the impact of the Arab spring; the lack of political progress towards a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians; continued instability in the horn of Africa; and disappointing global progress on trade and climate change.
On the pressing issue of Europe and the Eurozone Crisis, there are many in the House who would like any discussion of Europe to focus on the question of an in/out referendum.
My Lords, the Eurozone Crisis is having a real impact on economic growth across the European continent as well as in Britain.
But, without giving instructions of course, would he give some friendly advice to the British press to restrain and reduce their hysteria on this subject of the Eurozone Crisis at a time when the United States 16 trillion dollar irreducible debt system, which is facing national default yet again, is totally ignored by the British newspapers?
It is not for me to advise the media on their priorities but clearly the Eurozone Crisis could have considerable impact on all economies in the region and certainly on the United Kingdom.
Now they are blaming Europe, and we have the Eurozone Crisis building up and about to explode, as many of us predicted.
If the Eurozone Crisis has a part to play today, the global crash must be accorded a role in 2008.
No wonder that the Foreign Secretary, speaking today, said: "No single event would provide a bigger boost to the British economy in the short term than the resolution of the Eurozone Crisis".
Europe faces two big economic challenges: resolving the Eurozone Crisis, if that is possible, which remains a major obstacle to our economic recovery, and responding to the relative shift of economic power to the east and south-all predicted by some of us 15 years ago and to which rather slow-learning commentators have at last woken up.
The Eurozone Crisis is the worst problem we have faced for many decades.
However, the problems over the Government's European policy go far wider than the Eurozone Crisis.
As the Chancellor said, resolving the Eurozone Crisis would be the single biggest boost that the British economy could get this year.
The Chancellor will try to claim today that it is the Eurozone Crisis that has blown him so badly off course.
We had gone back into recession even before the Eurozone Crisis.
I want briefly to say something about the Eurozone Crisis.
Let me say something about the Eurozone Crisis.
We must not be complacent about the economic challenges that face the country, which, as many Members have recognised, are being exacerbated by the uncertainty and lack of confidence prompted by the Eurozone Crisis, but the need to hold our nerve and pursue measures that will strengthen our competitiveness is more important than ever at this time of economic turbulence.
We are affected by the global energy picture as well as the Eurozone Crisis.
The whole House will be concerned about the Eurozone Crisis.
But I have to say how disappointing it is, with our economy now pushed into recession, the Eurozone Crisis deepening, and businesses and families up and down the country crying out for a plan for jobs and growth, that we are today debating what is widely regarded to be a disappointing and directionless Queen's Speech programme from a Tory-led coalition that has, frankly, lost its way.
Instead of trying to divert the blame for their failure and using the eurozone as an excuse for Britain's problems, they must admit that they got it wrong - that they gave the eurozone the wrong advice - and start pushing for the right solution to the Eurozone Crisis.
Of course the Eurozone Crisis is very serious and very dangerous for our economy and for all economies.
In contra-distinction to what the noble Lord, Lord Willoughby de Broke, said, this is not just a Crisis of the Eurozone.
Nevertheless, my noble friend and his report clearly reflect the difficulties and tensions faced by the committee in producing a response to the great challenge of the Crisis in the Eurozone.
My Lords, if the Prime Minister is to protect Britain's interests in the Eurozone Crisis, is it not essential that he should express a view on the situation, particularly with regard to the need for adequate contingency plans?
We are under no illusion that the ESM alone will resolve the Eurozone Crisis, but, as the Prime Minister said last week, an effective firewall is part of the solution.
Speaking on Monday, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury said in an excellent speech that three things were required: first, the resolution to the Eurozone Crisis and the uncertainty about Greece; secondly, ring-fencing other vulnerable euro member states; and, thirdly, recapitalising European banks.
In This Eurozone Crisis, which affects not only the member states but the interests of the UK, we are no more than bystanders-we have no real role.
With the informal European Union summit ahead of us tonight and the Eurozone Crisis continuing to unfold, there is little to be said about the Bill before us.
My Lords, this is our second debate in three days on the eurozone, but that is hardly disproportionate considering the huge potential threat of the Crisis in the Eurozone to the world economy.
The measure before us is already well known and publicised and, indeed, is already priced into the markets, so anyone who thinks that what is being debated today will make a crucial difference to the Eurozone Crisis is under an illusion.
I say to those of that point of view that the Eurozone Crisis is seen as an opportunity, and not a challenge and a threat.
The ESM is only part of the way forward out of the Eurozone Crisis, but it is an important and valuable one.
I am sure that my right hon. Friend will agree that the biggest threat to our country at present is indeed the Crisis in the Eurozone, but almost parallel with that is the possible pending crisis in the middle east.
Last week, in the Financial Times, the chief executive officer of Solvay said that high energy prices are a bigger issue for his business in the UK than the Eurozone Crisis.
The Eurozone Crisis makes reform more, not less important.
What recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the Eurozone Crisis.
Does he accept that the Eurozone Crisis is not only a eurozone crisis but a European Union crisis, and political, economic and democratic in nature?
Mariana Mazzucato, who is now a professor at my former university home of the science policy research unit at the University of Sussex, has pointed out in relation to the Eurozone Crisis that, in many ways, the message and advice that other European countries ought to be getting is, "Do what the Germans do", not just in terms of cutting back and austerity but in terms of mirroring how Germany has created its competitiveness.
Of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Paul, said, the Eurozone Crisis remains a challenge.
With our country in double-dip recession, with world growth slowing and with the Eurozone Crisis, if ever there was a time for the international community to come together and act, this was it.
Naturally, the Eurozone Crisis is making the recovery even more difficult.
Since then our country has gone into a double-dip recession, world growth has slowed, and the Eurozone Crisis has deepened.
Despite the economic headwinds of the Eurozone Crisis, in the west midlands in the past year 4,000 jobs were lost in the public sector, but 81,000 jobs were created in the private sector.
That is a considerable risk, given the current fragile state of the UK economy and the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone.
We could also hold our own referendum under different legislation which, if you like, would deal with our own political problems but would not stand in the way of a resolution to the Eurozone Crisis, which we might all agree might be necessary in a matter of days.
Further efforts will be made this week at the EU summit to try to resolve the Eurozone Crisis.
My Lords, I think that the Governor of the Bank of England is, as always, being very realistic and clear about the nature of the dangers that we continue to face particularly because of the Eurozone Crisis.
The European summit took place against a backdrop of the continuing Crisis in the Eurozone, a global recovery faltering, and a double-dip recession here in the UK.
Turning to the main issues of the summit, it took place against a backdrop of the continuing Crisis in the Eurozone, a faltering global recovery and a double-dip recession here in the UK.
In some circumstances, when there might be a Crisis in the Eurozone, the procedures adopted will allow the Government to use the unanimous procedures for amendment, which were part of the Lisbon treaty, in the European Council and to bring the matter to this House to declare that the amendments regarding a transfer of power are not significant in relation to the UK, while simultaneously, saying that there would be a referendum in this country to deal with other wider measures.
This debate also enables objective consideration to be given to how to resolve the Eurozone Crisis which inhibits growth of the economy, inward investment and exports to global markets.
It would be rash to predict with certainty how the Eurozone Crisis will end, what solutions will be agreed upon and found to be workable and sustainable, and what choices other countries will make.
The Crisis in the Eurozone will almost certainly mean great changes for the European Union over the course of this decade.
The Foreign Secretary made only passing reference today to the Eurozone Crisis, which is still afflicting Europe, so in many ways this was a curiously contextless and rather ahistorical statement, the announcement of which, I fear, owed more to enduring political problems than to immediate policy challenges.
I wish the Foreign Secretary well in trying to repatriate powers from the EU, but can he explain why he is so unwilling to commit to a referendum on our membership of the EU in the next Parliament, given that this would give us time to have an informed debate, allow the Eurozone Crisis to play out and fundamentally address the lack of public trust when people hear politicians making promises about matters European?
My own view is that it is necessary to see how Europe develops, what happens during the Eurozone Crisis, what structure of Europe we are dealing with and what can be achieved to improve this country's relationship with Europe before we decide on any such referendum.
Secondly, a larger EU budget will not solve the Eurozone Crisis.
As the House will know, the reason for the treaty change that the Bill approves is the Crisis in the Eurozone.
Obviously, it is also crucially in our interests for the Eurozone Crisis to be resolved.
Clearly, the economic Crisis in the Eurozone - “implosion”, as my hon. Friend terms it - affects us enormously, but so do many other things in the world such as the deficit of the United States and the economic policies of China.
I do not pretend for a moment that the ratification of the decision or the establishment of the ESM alone will solve the Eurozone Crisis.
He has talked about resolving the Eurozone Crisis, but the measure will just pour good money after bad.
As the Foreign Secretary has set out, the context for this debate is the continuing Crisis in the Eurozone: the troika has yet to decide whether Greece has met its bail-out commitments; Spain appears to be on the brink of making a formal request for assistance; forecasters predict that the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Belgium will all miss the European Union deficit target next year; and there are serious doubts as to whether Ireland and Portugal will be able to comply fully, with certainty, with the existing terms of their EU bail-out programmes.
The Opposition are certainly under no illusion that the ESM in itself will resolve the Eurozone Crisis.
However, it is wholly wrong to claim, as the Government are trying to do in several different forums, that the current double-dip recession in the UK is the result of the Ongoing Eurozone Crisis.
It is fair to recognise that the Eurozone Crisis is now having an impact on the British economy.
Although the Crisis in the Eurozone poses serious risks to the UK economy, the Government's failed economy strategy has rendered our economy more vulnerable and more exposed to these risks than we needed to be.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stone warned in stark terms that the Current Eurozone Crisis contained not only profound economic risks but significant - he would probably say dangerous - political challenges, and he has been consistent in arguing those points.
We all share the enormous concern over the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone and the chilling effect that it is having on our economy.
The chief executive officer of Alcan UK has recently said that differentially high energy prices are a much bigger issue for his business than the Eurozone Crisis.
I stand briefly to question my right hon. Friend the Minister - I, too, welcome him back to his post - on whether he believes that the European stability mechanism risks prolonging the agony of the Eurozone Crisis.
My hon. Friendthe Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) will forgive me if I do not follow him by giving a detailed analysis of the origins of the Eurozone Crisis.
Unlike many initiatives relating to the Eurozone Crisis, one is not trying to replace the democracy that exists in Greece, although if we look at what has happened in Italy and, it could be argued, to a certain extent in Greece, we see that it is very much the bureaucrats who are in charge.
On the ESM and more widely, it is regrettable that there have been several delays and that there has been a lack of political leadership and inertia and inaction at a European level which has served to deepen the Eurozone Crisis.
Does he agree that, given the speed at which events unravel during the Eurozone Crisis, even if this were our business - which it is not - an annual report would be at best irrelevant?
” Although the ESM is certainly not a silver bullet to solve the Eurozone Crisis, its establishment is definitely part of the solution and is exactly the type of action that the OECD has called for.
Before the summer recess,the hon. Member for Bury St Edmunds (Mr Ruffley), a member of the Treasury Committee, said that the Government must not use the Eurozone Crisis as an alibi.
The establishment of the ESM is not a silver bullet, but it is nevertheless a key part of the solution that is so urgently needed to resolve the Eurozone Crisis.
At the time of Crisis in the Eurozone, it is key that the UK sets out the vision of the EU that it wants and develops alliances in that direction.
Many people are saying that the Eurozone Crisis and the vulnerability of the eurozone at the moment provides the opportunity for the UK to repatriate some of its powers, but this is wrong thinking.
We would like to see a Europe that is more outward looking, that is stronger in the world, that is - crucially, at the moment - better able to deal with the Eurozone Crisis and that reforms some of its internal policies.
To me, the Eurozone Crisis shows that pushing towards a united states of Europe is a bridge too far.
It would be wrong to resist it for the eurozone, as the Eurozone Crisis has exposed a series of risks to economic stability, not least of which is the relationship between sovereign debt and banking debt and the need to find credible ways to prevent private banking losses from dragging down sovereign fiscal positions.
Since then, the UK economy has of course been hit by a series of further shocks, including the Eurozone Crisis.
Plenty of obstacles remain ahead: the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone; rising food prices as a result of poor harvests around the globe; and fluctuating oil prices, which have the potential to stall the recovery.
Now, our absolute priority is to address the Crisis in the Eurozone and to ensure that the single market is not damaged.
The Eurozone Crisis has also, it says, spilled over into “tighter credit conditions” and “elevated UK bank funding costs”.
The analysis of the Office for Budget Responsibility is very clear: it is because of the uncertainties created by the Crisis in the Eurozone, because commodity prices are rising more than we would have liked and because the damage done to the economy by the crash of 2007-08 was greater than had been realised.
It has of course been dominated by the Crisis in the Eurozone.
The Eurozone Crisis has brought about a recognition that there have to be even more flexible arrangements to incorporate all 27 member states, and any future newcomers.
In supporting my right hon. Friend's struggle for British interests and, in particular, his identification of the Crisis in the Eurozone as the key driver for change, may I urge him to put free movement of labour at the top of the issues for potential renegotiation because, as a number of Members on the Government Benches, including the Front Bench, have pointed out, it might not be only the recent entrants with whom we have problems if the crisis in southern Europe worsens over the next year or two?
Secondly - this was examined when there was a greater sense of Crisis in the Eurozone - there are rules that can be invoked in a time of crisis if we need to abrogate those freedoms in some way.
Given the acuteness of the Eurozone Crisis, does he really believe that they will have the luxury of having the time that they need?
Both these factors have been heightened by the financial Crisis in the Eurozone, and that may have contributed to changes in the way in which some banks have approached their lending activities.
The Eurozone Crisis will rightly continue to dominate the EU's thinking and activities in 2013.
We know that we are suffering from the economic effects of the Eurozone Crisis, but in contrast with a number of countries in the eurozone we have relatively robust employment figures.
However, taking place as they are against a backdrop of political uncertainty and shaky political resolve about seeing the thing through to its conclusion, they do not augur well for a speedy resolution to the Eurozone Crisis.
So, notwithstanding the OBR's statement that the Crisis in the Eurozone has been a “major drag” on performance in this country, given that that is our principal market, we are none the less able to expect higher growth than the eurozone.
So it is in our interest as a country, though perhaps we cannot do very much about it, to help to accelerate the painfully slow process of resolving the Eurozone Crisis.
Just last week, the IMF downgraded its global growth forecast for the next two years, mostly due to the continuing Crisis in the Eurozone, which is now expected to remain in recession throughout 2013.
As my right hon. Friend said, there are three great challenges facing the European Union: the profound changes being wrought by the Eurozone Crisis, the lack of competitiveness in the face of a transformed global economy and the gap between Europe and its peoples.
We should let the people look at the new settlement that Europe will have arrived at once the Eurozone Crisis has been further addressed, see what reforms have been achieved, weigh up the benefits and costs of Britain's membership, and make a judgment about whether Britain should be in the European Union or out.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not accept that the EU is changing, and that the Eurozone Crisis has led to the point at which Britain simply cannot continue in the same way?
Labour recognises, as I have sought to suggest, that the need for EU reform did not begin with the Eurozone Crisis, which is why our agenda for change must address the need for institutional, as well as policy, reform.
The Eurozone Crisis demands that we rethink our relationship, and the rise of globalisation and new markets require us all, as Europeans, to look to new models of economic growth.
One thing that no hon. Member can dispute is that the Ongoing Eurozone Crisis means that Europe and the European Union is changing.
It is inevitable that the eurozone countries will see closer co-ordinated integration as part of the solution to the Crisis in the Eurozone, but it is clear that we will never be part of that inner core.
Although there may be a lull at the moment, the Eurozone Crisis has not gone away.
Despite the Eurozone Crisis last year, most new member states are anxious to join in the euro, which they see remains a strong international currency, unlike sterling.
The EU has fundamentally changed since we first joined in the early '70s and it continues to change because of the Eurozone Crisis.
Those include dealing with the Eurozone Crisis, increasing competitiveness and taking steps to improve democratic accountability.
The Prime Minister agrees with those who believe that, in the next few years, the EU will need to agree on treaty change to resolve the Crisis in the Eurozone, to which my noble and learned friend referred, while protecting the interests of those outside the eurozone and driving forward reform for all.
When last year, in the middle of the Eurozone Crisis, I asked the Government whether there was not an approaching fork in the road, and whether they would envisage the possibility of a two-speed, or multi-speed, Europe, I was told that the Government did not envisage that under any circumstances.
The market variable that has shifted the most is the exchange rate, where sterling has moved back to a range where it was trading before the Eurozone Crisis.
Given the dysfunctional nature of the EU, the Eurozone Crisis and low growth, and the state of affairs in Greece and Italy, and now in Cyprus and Spain, how can such a statement be justified?
Along with other major economies around the world, such as France, Germany, Japan and the United States, we are faring better, despite the problems of high oil and commodity prices and the frustratingly slow resolution of the Eurozone Crisis.
It is a pleasure to followthe hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley), but I think that her speech was representative of those we have heard from Labour Members today: there was no effort to explain the context; not a single acknowledgement of the problems the Labour party left this Government; no mention of the fact that there is a Crisis in the Eurozone; no mention of the fact that the IMF has indicated that UK levels of growth will be higher than those of Germany and France; and no mention of the fact that we are facing an international energy crisis - there was no mention of reality.
The reason is a combination of the Crisis in the Eurozone, which has become worse since the emergency Budget, and the inflationary impact of energy costs - a fact acknowledged by Mr Chote and the OBR.
Against the background of external challenges, such as the continuing Crisis in the Eurozone, it is vital that the UK tax system attracts investment to this country and does everything possible to ensure that UK businesses can compete in the global economy.
At the height of the first outbreak of the Eurozone Crisis, I sought to obtain a debate on the Floor of the House.
One was that although he used the word "Europe" in his first and last sentences, he did not refer at all to the Crisis in the Eurozone and to the fact, supported by the OBR, that one of the greatest problems and brakes on growth in the UK has been what happened to the eurozone.
No one should be in any doubt that the Crisis in the Eurozone has a negative effect on Britain as well as on the eurozone countries.
The Eurozone Crisis has not gone away.
The head of one of the world's largest chemical groups has warned that the energy costs should be ranked alongside the Eurozone Crisis as the most urgent problem confronting industry.
We are three years into the Eurozone Crisis.
As my noble friends Lord Howell and Lord Lawson said, the EU is changing because of the Eurozone Crisis.
The Crisis in the Eurozone has created an immediate institutional challenge for the UK: as 17 member states attempt to take steps to save their monetary union, how can we change the EU to protect our interests and make it work for us?
I do not know who is telling the truth - was he just making his speech because of the leadership bid in the background, was he playing to the dissidents on his Back Benches, or was he genuinely saying that an attempt is being made in Europe to unlock that terrible arrangement set up in response to the Eurozone Crisis?
The resulting Eurozone Crisis means that demand in the eurozone is down and therefore demand for British goods is down.
My Lords, the Government discuss a range of issues with Germany and with other EU member states, many of which agree about the need for reform to address the challenges that the EU faces, including dealing with the Eurozone Crisis, increasing the EU's competitiveness in the global economy and making the EU more flexible and democratically accountable.
A combination of the distraction of the Eurozone Crisis, and a certain air of enlargement fatigue, has caused this issue to drift towards the margins of the policy debate about the future of the European Union, both in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe.
Of course there are still challenges facing the economy, but the hon. Lady will remember the legacy she left us, and she can see for herself the Crisis in the Eurozone.
Against a tough economic backdrop of the deficit we inherited from the previous Government and the Crisis in the Eurozone, we are taking the measures necessary to create a rebalanced economy with sustainable public finances.
Can he tell the House what has changed to date in the Eurozone Crisis?
No institution can survive without the people's support, and the EU that will emerge from the Eurozone Crisis may look very different from the EU before the crisis.
We certainly have not seen the rate of growth that we or, indeed, anybody envisaged in 2010, but as the Office for Budget Responsibility has made absolutely clear in a succession of reports, the single greatest check on growth has been the Ongoing Eurozone Crisis because that is where we sell most of our goods.
During the 2012-13 Session we continued with our twice-yearly updates on the Eurozone Crisis.
The Chancellor blames the Eurozone Crisis for problems in the UK economy.
In the past three years, there has been a massive Crisis in the Eurozone; I do not know whether he has been watching TV.
In 2011-12, we provided much-needed impetus to policy makers solving the Eurozone Crisis, and boosted the IMF's emergency funding by $456 billion.
We need time for the Eurozone Crisis to play out.
Europe is changing because of the Eurozone Crisis, and we should expect that process to include treaty change.
Europe is changing because of the Eurozone Crisis, among other reasons, and we expect that process to include treaty change.
The negative effects” - this point is critical - “of not having these structures in place have been starkly illustrated by the Eurozone Crisis.
After the Eurozone Crisis of 2008 and beyond, it would probably be in negotiations with the UK Treasury to get more of a fiscal pact and more of a monetary union to ensure that those stabilisers were in place to ensure that it did not happen again.
First, the lessons of the Eurozone Crisis are there for us to see.
The first few decades of independence would be a risky, dangerous and uncertain phase, and embarking on it without the ability to control interest rates or an exchange rate that can, for example, adjust to oil price fluctuations, and with your hands bound on tax and spending - one of the lessons of the Eurozone Crisis - is an utterly ridiculous proposition.
It has been achieved despite a massive external shock which was not built into the forecast four years ago and which I do not think the Chancellor mentioned - the Eurozone Crisis and the economic stagnation in our largest export markets.
Some 40% of UK goods exports go to the euro area and as the Eurozone Crisis intensified it weighed on UK export performance.
The UK economy suffered very significantly because of the Eurozone Crisis.
He also mentioned the impact of the Eurozone Crisis on our economy over the past few years, which was important, and I am glad that he did so.
We are inclined to think that the Eurozone Crisis is over.
Indeed, the Government frequently pointed to the impact of the Crisis in the Eurozone on our economy.
As I have said, the Eurozone Crisis clearly is not behind us.
The EU has to deal with the ongoing Crisis in the Eurozone, which will require structural change to resolve it.
Will the right hon. Gentleman clarify whether he is one of those who believe that the Crisis in the Eurozone has passed, or does he recognise that there will need to be fundamental structural reform in Europe in order to ensure the success of the euro currency?
It is perverse that a country such as Greece, at the heart of the Crisis in the Eurozone, is being asked to find money to pay back to countries like Germany.
It is also perverse that a country like Greece - at the heart of the Crisis in the Eurozone - is being asked to find money to pay back to countries like Germany.
That reflects a European tendency to move difficult political conflicts, such as the Eurozone Crisis and the EU's 2013 fiscal compact, away from ministerial gatherings and towards apolitical groups of national experts, the legal realm and the courts.
Progress is slower than we planned in 2010, but it is because the recession was deeper than we had understood and the recovery, as the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, was kind enough to point out, was stalled by the Eurozone Crisis and high commodity prices.
The Eurozone Crisis has rocked the European markets in recent years and had an impact on our largest export market, while the global growth of emerging international economic powerhouses such as India and China threatens our ability to compete globally.
Given the intensification of the Eurozone Crisis and its implications for Britain, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, to which there has been much opposition, and the many other important matters that have been raised, it was vital for the Prime Minister to report to the House in person and submit to questioning from Members, even if on a later day than usual.
The growing Crisis in the Eurozone will only make the position worse, and there is no end in sight to its economic problems.
” Given that we have seen, and hon. Members have commented on, the Eurozone Crisis, the Cyprus banking crisis, the Irish bank bail-out and other issues, to put this country back into a straitjacket of a policy which has failed so far, ignoring the possibility that similar shocks could occur in the near and medium-term future, is silly and wilful.
Their excuse is Crisis in the Eurozone, yet they failed to explain, despite the claims, particularly from Conservative Members, that the economy is supposedly doing so well, why we are borrowing so much.
We have had to deal with the Eurozone Crisis, the high commodity prices at the time and the aftershocks of the financial crisis.
The Eurozone Crisis has held that growth and stability back; we want those concerned to come to a reasonable agreement so that Europe can move forward.
We have made considerable progress at a time when other economies have struggled and when there has been a Eurozone Crisis.
I had a lot to say, and I greatly agree withthe right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr Redwood) about the Crisis in the Eurozone.
The Eurozone Crisis made that task here at home all the more difficult and for much of the past five years it looked like we might fall short.
There was always a recognition that it would need that flexibility and if they are really saying that we should have cut even more or raised taxes even more as a result of the economy performing less well in the early years than had been forecast by the OBR because of the Crisis in the Eurozone, that would have been bad for the economy.
Despite yet Another Eurozone Crisis, the UK economy continues to grow strongly, creating more jobs than the rest of Europe added together.
The noble Lord, Lord Deighton, mentioned a couple of them today - the Eurozone Crisis and our higher oil prices.
It has been very clear that the three reasons it did not happen were the Eurozone Crisis; the after-effects of the financial crisis being greater than it or, indeed, other independent observers had expected; and higher commodity prices than had been expected.
It is not that there is a Crisis in the Eurozone - the eurozone is the crisis, and it always has been since the creation of the flawed and fundamentally unstable and unsound single currency.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Crisis in the Eurozone over Greece's payments to its creditors provides us with yet another opportunity to reform some of the treaties of the EU?
The Crisis in the Eurozone is clearly a challenge for the eurozone.
Does he share my view that one thing that could be done is for the EU to restart urgently its initiative with all of the nations on the southern Mediterranean coast, which seemed to die away with the Arab spring and the Crisis in the Eurozone?
The likely consequence of the Eurozone Crisis is that we will see greater integration within the eurozone.
Has not this enforced change of tactics been dragged out of him by European allies who are increasingly frustrated by the vagueness of his demands and increasingly irritated by the narrowness of his focus while they are trying to cope with the day-to-day reality of the Eurozone Crisis and the urgency of the refugee crisis?
The Sparkassen to which she refers were often lending very inappropriately, which helped to pump up the credit bubble, and they were investing in southern Europe in a way that helped to cause the Eurozone Crisis.
Of course the European Union faces big challenges in recovering from the Eurozone Crisis, offering more hope for the future, and dealing with the urgent and immediate refugee crisis that it faces, but we believe that those challenges will be best met if Britain plays a leading role in the future of the European Union, and if we use our power and influence with others to overcome them.
To answer the hon. Gentleman's question, we are keen to avoid a repeat of the sort of thing that happened over the European financial stabilisation mechanism earlier this year, when, in the heat of a Crisis in the Eurozone, a deal that had been solemnly agreed by all 28 member states in December 2010 suddenly appeared to be at risk and came up for discussion in a meeting where only 19 member Governments were gathered together.
Does he agree that the Crisis in the Eurozone means that the eurozone countries need to move together and agree a single fiscal policy for their single currency, but the key for our negotiations has to be that for the non-euro countries, Europe needs to do less and do it better?
Indeed, the lesson of the Eurozone Crisis is that the EU usually finds a way of achieving what it wants, ever closer union, even at the expense of violating its commitments.
The idea that we can just pull up a drawbridge and indulge in some enjoyable schadenfreude at the expense of our European partners is as misguided as when some said we could comfortably sit out the Eurozone Crisis and economic and financial crisis without them affecting us in the slightest way.
First came the banking crash in 2008, followed by a Crisis in the Eurozone, and now we face a major slowdown in the emerging economies, which will prove to be a massive headwind for the global economy.
As a result of the mismanagement of the Eurozone Crisis and a number of internal issues - of which, I am sorry to say, the British problem has been an important one - the European Union has lost that position.
The Eurozone Crisis has not gone away, but has just been kicked into the long grass, and the migration crisis will continue to be a major issue in the EU.