Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

20 March 1989: 'My favourite one-club golfer'


House of Commons

During the 1989 Budget debate, the former Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath constructed a devastating critique of government economic policy, likening Chancellor Nigel Lawson to a "one-club golfer" stuck in a bunker.

Mr Heath declared that the chancellor was "very wise".

"He doesn't know what to do and has therefore very wisely decided to do nothing," the MP explained.

This extract, in which he ridicules the chancellor's decision to slash income tax in the previous year's Budget, prompted peals of laughter on the Labour benches.

Mr Heath argued that the government's policy of thrift in the public sector had resulted in poor quality economic forecasts.

The chancellor had therefore believed that the economy was on the cusp of slowing down in 1988; in fact the reverse was true, and the income tax cuts only served to prolong the boom and make the ensuing hike in interest rates all the more painful.

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