Mr Eric Pickles (Brentwood and Ongar, Conservative)
I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman disputes our figures, because they stand the test of scrutiny. We are talking about average male earnings—I do not think anyone would dispute that that figure is £525 a week—and average female earnings, which are £396 a week. Those are the facts—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman should face reality. People on average earnings will lose out under his proposals, and the Liberal Democrats' blindness to that fact is leaving them looking utterly foolish.