Vince Cable dismissed the loss of Britain's prized AAA credit rating as "background noise" today.
The Business Secretary admitted that Chancellor George Osborne had been eager to maintain the top level, but said the reduction to AA1 was "largely symbolic".
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Cable said:
In terms of the real economy there is no reason why the downgrade should have any impact.
These things do not necessarily affect the real economy but they reflect the fact that we are going through a very difficult time and we are trying to balance the need to get the deficit and the budget under control with the need to get back to economic growth.
The rating agencies have a pretty bad record. They are a bit like tipsters. They get some things right and a lot of things not right.
They are part of the background noise we have to take into account.