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AAA rating not "be-all and end-all" says Treasury secretary


Danny Alexander told BBC Radio the UK's triple A rating was not critical despite Osborne's insistence it is

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Treasury secretary Danny Alexander said on Monday that the UK’s triple A credit rating was not the “be-all and end-all”, despite chancellor George Osborne’s perceived determination to retain the coveted rating.

The chief secretary to the Treasury talked down the importance of the top credit rating on Monday when he told BBC Radio it wasn’t the ultimate goal in the government’s aim to reduce the budget deficit.

Osborne wants to erase huge budget deficit within five years.

Last week the chancellor said the coalition, in which the Lib Dems are the junior partner, would not ease back on getting to grips with the public debt, after rating agency Standard & Poor's affirmed the country's top-notch AAA debt rating.

But Osborne's deputy Alexander told BBC radio on Monday: "The credit rating is not the be-all and end-all."

Osborne has resisted strong pressure to ease his tough deficit-reduction programme as the economy has sunk deeper into its second recession in four years.

Alexander advocated "the right policy mix for the country to get people back into work, to support economic growth to deal with the huge problems in our public finances."

The credit agencies' ratings reflected "the credibility of that mix," he said.

The other main rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, also have Britain at AAA but with a negative outlook, warning that the country could be downgraded in the next couple of years if the government relaxes its fiscal stance.

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