POLITICS

George Osborne 'Not Worried' About High Interest Rates, Despite Warning Against Them 7 Times

23/01/2014 12:40 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 12:59 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
George Osborne, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, talks prior to the launch of the Economic Survey of the United Kingdom, by Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at the Treasury in central London, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, Pool)

After years hitching his economic credibility on low interest rates, George Osborne is executing an outright U-turn as he prepares to chalk them up as a "sign of success".

The chancellor's change of tune comes as the unemployment rate fell to 7.1%, on the brink of the Bank of England's 7.0% threshold at which policymakers will consider raising the base interest rate from its historic 0.5% low.

Osborne's aides told the Financial Times that higher interest rates would be welcomed by savers and a "sign of success". Even though it would be bad news for mortgage holders, Osborne's team insisted: "It’s not something we are worried about."

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Osborne's relaxedness about high interest rates is a stark contrast from the doom-laden pronouncements he used to make about them, warning high interest rates would be a "disaster" that would add £21 billion to debt interest repayments, while low interest rates were a "test of our success".

Here are just seven examples...

7 Times George Osborne Hailed Low Interest Rates