Former Trade Minister, Lord Jones of Birmingham, has blamed the financial crisis on the “hubris and greed” of people in the financial sector, and said the worst was yet to come for the economy.
And the former CBI director general said the House of Lords – which he planned to start work in today – needed to stay undemocratic so experts in business and other fields could still have an input on parliamentary decisions.
Lord Jones, who stepped down after 15 months as Trade Minister in Friday's Cabinet reshuffle, said he thought the economy was in for a rough time as a result of the credit crunch over the next year.
“There has been a financial crisis brought on by hubris and greed,” he said, adding it was only this year this had moved on to a second crisis as the lack of available credit meant businesses were starting to struggle to perform.
“Because of the first crisis you are taking the blood away from the body of business, and then you are creating unemployment, and you are creating a consumer downturn.
“Those two things are coming together in a way they weren’t last year.
“I think things are getting worse and we are going to have a very difficult 2009.’’
Although he has finished his role promoting UK business for the Government, Lord Jones said on Friday he was planning to enter the House of Lords as soon as possible to continue to campaign for business as a crossbench peer.
But he rejected calls for a democratically elected House of Lords, saying this would mean it was impossible to bring experts into the parliamentary process.
He said: “One of the great things of the last 15 months has been sitting there and watching some fabulous minds giving you their time for free.
“One of the worries I have for the democratic Lords is we will lose that, you will just get people who lost in other elections and go into this.
“People are contributing their time and experience for their country and the Lords provides that.
“In that respect I think the Lords have made an enormous contribution.”