Britain will consider giving more money to stricken eurozone countries through the IMF, George Osborne has said.
The chancellor said, however, that any extra money would depend on parliamentary approval. "Britain has always been prepared to provide the resources in the past and will be willing to provide the resources in the future if there is a strong case," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday morning.
"If I felt it was a decent request from the IMF then, of course, I’d be willing to go to Parliament and make that request, it wouldn’t be ultimately my decision, it would be a decision of Parliament. But let me be very clear,
"I would not do that with Britain acting alone. I would want Britain to act in concert with other countries, like other big G20 economies and we’re very clear that this money is not a substitute for the eurozone providing resources to deal with its own currency, this money from the IMF is used to support countries not currencies. I’m willing to seek Parliamentary approval if there is a strong case but I’m willing to support countries, not currencies."
Speaking during a visit abroad, Osborne called on the euro to "show convincingly that it can stand behind its currency", adding markets needed to see confidence.
"We haven't actually seen much evidence of the pooled resources needed by the euro to actually provide confidence to the market that they will stand by their own currency."
S&P stripped France and Austria of their gold-plated AAA ratings, downgrading them to AA+, and downgraded Italy and Spain two notches to BBB+ and A, respectively. It also downgraded Portugal and Cyprus to junk, or non-investment grade, ratings: BB and BB+ respectively. Slovenia was downgraded to A+ from AA-, Slovakia was downgraded to A from A+ and Malta was downgraded to A- from A.