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Osborne accused of talking down pound

Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has come under fire for talking down the pound after saying that Britain is heading for a “collapse of Sterling”.

In an interview the Times on Saturday, Osborne warned that Gordon Brown’s strategy of borrowing his way out of recession was a “scorched-earth policy” that would leave the economy in ruins for the Tories to inherit.

He said: “Sterling has devalued rapidly against the euro and the dollar.
“We are in danger, if the Government is not careful, of having a proper sterling collapse, a run on the pound.

“The danger of a run on the pound . . . is that it pushes up long-term interest rates, which is a huge burden on the economy.

“The more you borrow as a government the more you have to sell that debt and the less attractive your currency seems.”

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson called Osborne’s comments “reckless and irresponsible”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What George Osborne was trying to do in his remarks was undermine the confidence of markets.”


Red alert on Barclays’ cash vote

The Association of British Insurers’ institutional voting information service has put the Barclays forthcoming capital-raising vote on red alert. The group, which represents many of Barclays’ biggest shareholders, says there are “grave concerns” over the £7bn fund-raising from Middle East investors.

Don’t shoot the albatross

With defined benefit schemes going the way of the dodo, it is good to hear the Government listening to the demands of employers before they become completely extinct.


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