Consolidated Fund (Apppropriation) Bill
David Gauke (Exchequer Secretary, HM Treasury; South West Hertfordshire, Conservative)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
We have enjoyed a lively and wide-ranging debate during the Bill's progress. I would therefore like to start by thanking all Members who have taken part in the four days of debate on what is a short but significant Bill-despite its brevity, it makes fundamental changes to Britain for the better.
The Bill follows the emergency Budget and puts in place many of the measures that are necessary to strengthen the economy and ensure fiscal discipline. It was a crucial Budget, and this is a crucial Bill because this is the time when we finally get to grips with our deficit. The Bill re-establishes the credibility of the country to the rest of the world. It shows that where tough choices are needed, the Government have the courage to make them, and it provides for a fair and productive society.
The Budget was tough, but it was also fair. It set out a decisive and credible plan to deal with this country's record deficit and to tackle the other problems that were left behind: a structural deficit £12 billion larger than we had been told; a deficit that was the largest in the G20 and second only to Ireland in the European Union; one in every four pounds of public spending coming from borrowing; an uncompetitive tax environment; and endless complexity and unfairness throughout the tax system. Our plan will pave the way for sustainable private sector-led growth, keep interest rates lower for longer and protect jobs. It is the right approach for the country.
"The comprehensive budget announced by the government on
Despite containing only nine substantive clauses, the Bill represents a clear change from the past and a new direction of travel, and it meets the three principles of responsibility, freedom and fairness set out by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary on Second Reading.
First, the Bill shows that we are taking responsibility for the problems we inherited, and it follows a Budget more honest, more transparent and more pragmatic than those before it. We have been honest about the scale of the challenge, and we have been honest about the actions needed to take it on. If we are to bring down the deficit without cutting vital public services, raising VAT is unavoidable. We recognise that Members have concerns about that, but for the first time we have published analysis of the distributional impacts of Budget measures. It shows that fairness underpins the tough choices the Government have taken to tackle the deficit.