Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Cable red-faced over meeting error

Business Secretary Vince Cable wrongly told MPs a Cabinet committee had yet to meet

Vince Cable caused confusion when he wrongly told MPs that a new committee to promote economic growth had not yet held any meetings - even though he has attended two of them.

The Business Secretary, vice chairman of the Growth Implementation Committee, was forced to correct his evidence to a select committee after saying: "I can't tell you why that committee has not been convened yet."

The Cabinet committee, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron two months ago to ensure the Government's growth-supporting initiatives are driven through, actually met on September 18 and October 22.

But, appearing before the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, Dr Cable was asked by Labour MP Ann McKechin about rumours that no meetings had yet been held.

The Liberal Democrat minister appeared to confirm that the committee had not met before playing down its importance to creating growth in the economy.

"I don't think anybody in government or anywhere else would imagine that Cabinet committees drive economic growth - it's there to take check and hold government departments accountable for delivering on those things they've agreed to do," he said.

"It's an important part of the machinery of government but it doesn't drive economic growth. But it's a fair question and I will endeavour to find out why this group has not met."

Later in the same committee, Mr Cable said he needed to "correct the record".

"I readied my memory very quickly and I couldn't recall meetings of the committee. There were in fact two, on September 18 and October 22, so that committee is operating and has met," he said.

Downing Street also told reporters there had been two meetings of the growth committee.

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