Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr Osborne: My experience of the Greek Government is that they are very well versed in events here in the United Kingdom. They have certainly noticed our economic revival. I repeat, however, that it is not for us to say which currency they should use.

    Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend recall that when this country helped to persuade the rest of the world to forgive the debts of the heavily indebted poor countries, we argued first that lenders who lend too much share some of the responsibility with Governments who borrow too much, and should pay the cost, and secondly that the citizens of those countries are rarely to blame for the profligacy of their rulers, but have to suffer if they are forced to attempt to repay sums that cannot be repaid? Will he repeat those arguments to our colleagues in Europe?

    Mr Osborne: My right hon. Friend has made a very good observation. The people who suffer when Governments get their economic policies wrong are often the poorest in the countries concerned. Sadly, we know that to our cost, given what happened in this country five or six years ago.

    My right hon. Friend has also made a good point about the sustainability of debt repayments and the like. One of the big challenges that are looming is the repayment that is due to the European Central Bank. The discussion between Greece and its creditors has always been about ensuring that Greece pays what it owes but pays in a way that it can afford, and ensuring that it can grow its economy and undertake the structural reforms that are necessary to sustain its repayments. Indeed, that is an element of the discussion that is taking place now.