It is one of the more exquisite ironies of British politics that the chancellor's solution to Britain's present misery is to adopt the approach which got us into this mess in the first place.
Being inside No 11 must have been easy for Gordon Brown. All those billions of pounds, sloshing around inside the Treasury's swollen coffers, ready to be distributed hither and thither.
Being inside No 11 in austerity Britain requires some more creative thinking. George Osborne's job is to come up with something for nothing - at least, something that doesn't pop up on the government's balance sheets.
The credit easing scheme announced on Sunday does exactly this. It will help the recovery by providing £20 billion of extra lending to the engines of the recovery, Britain's small- and medium-sized enterprises, without denting the government's deficit reduction strategy one jot. This £20 billion is not the government's money, after all. It just underwrites the banks' extra lending.
Osborne saidRead More »from A new kind of ‘something for nothing’