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Tony Blair: We should have addressed deficit in 2005

image captionMr Blair says he proposed giving the Bank of England the power to set interest rates

The UK should have addressed its public deficit back in 2005, former Prime Minister Tony Blair has told the BBC.

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Mr Blair said: "We should probably have taken a tougher fiscal position than we did."

He said that this was also about the time when disagreement between himself and Gordon Brown "started to spill over into macro-economic policy".

In his memoirs, Mr Blair wrote that it was his idea to give the Bank of England independence.

"Some months before the [1997] election, Gordon and I formed the desire to give monetary policy - ie setting interest rates - over to the Bank of England," he wrote.

"I had no doubt it was right... Gordon had come to the same conclusion, and so when I suggested it, he readily agreed."

'Public spending limit'

In an interview with Andrew Marr, Mr Blair said that he had wanted to implement a fundamental savings review after 2005.

"It was about thinking we'd reached the limit of public spending and we now had to drive value through our public services," he said.

But the former prime minister said he did not predict the financial crisis and also praised some of the actions of his successor.

"I think in the programme to stabilise the banks, I think this was Gordon at his very best. I think he acted quickly. He acted perceptively.

"And in a sense, he led the world in that, and he will rightly, in my view, get much credit for that in history."

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