Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused the BBC of bias as he insisted Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget is not the main reason for the economic turmoil facing the UK.
The business secretary said the different interest rates in American and Britain were a bigger factor in the chaos which followed the chancellor’s statement last month.
The value of the pound plummeted, mortgage rates soared and the Bank of England had to step in to prevent the pensions industry collapsing in the days after Kwarteng announced £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts.
But appearing on radio and television this morning, Rees-Mogg repeatedly insisted the mini-budget was not the primary cause of the financial crisis facing the UK.
Appearing on Radio Four’s Today programme, the minister was asked by presenter Mishal Husain if the Government might bring forward the fiscal statement from the new date of October 31 to address the crisis caused by the mini-budget
He said: “Hold on, you suggest something is causal, which is a speculation.”
Rees-Mogg said the instability in pension funds is “not necessarily” to do with the mini-budget.
“It could just as easily be the fact that, the day before, the Bank of England did not raise interest rates as much as the Federal Reserve did,” he said.
“And I think jumping to conclusions about causality is not meeting the BBC’s requirement for impartiality. It is a commentary rather than a factual question.”
Husain said: “Are you saying that the turmoil of the last three weeks, is not that serious and we shouldn’t be concerned about it?”
Rees-Mogg replied: “No, I’m saying it’s primarily caused by interest rate differentials rather than the fiscal announcement.”
He then doubled down on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, where he said: “I would point to the day before [the mini-budget], when the [Bank of England] Monetary Policy Committee did not put up interest rates as much as the [US] Federal Reserve had.
“And that was the more profound effect on markets.”
Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Jacob Rees-Mogg is denying economic reality, his bluff and bluster will do nothing to reassure people worried about their mortgages, pensions and living standards.
“He’s admitted his own mortgage has gone up, but won’t take the action needed to help the millions terrified of losing their homes as interest payments go through the roof.
“It shows Conservative ministers are refusing to take responsibility for their actions and are totally out of touch with struggling families and pensioners.
“It’s time this government U-turned once and for all on this out of touch and reckless mini-budget before it does any more damage.”