Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill
Hugh Bayley (York Central, Labour)
This Bill is a small but necessary step in the right direction. Priti Patel—and not just her, but
many members of both coalition parties—has repeated the mantra, which we hear time and again, about Labour’s borrowing being the cause of all evil. They sound like a record stuck in a groove. It is not surprising that the public are losing confidence in the coalition parties. Two years ago they told the public that the Government were borrowing too much and that they would clear the deficit by the end of this Parliament in 2015. My party agrees that the deficit, which was necessary to stop the 2008-09 meltdown, has to be cleared, but we warned the coalition that if it cut too fast, it would snuff out growth, which would reduce tax receipts and increase the national debt.
Let us look at the debt figures. When the coalition came to power, the national debt stood at £779 billion. The latest figures, for July this year, show that in just over two years under this Government’s stewardship, the national debt has risen by 33% to £1,032 billion—above £1 trillion for the first time in this country’s history, as a result of the economic policies that the two Government parties have been pursuing, and this from a party that is worried about borrowing. There is no prospect whatever of the deficit being eliminated by the end of this Parliament. That was a brave promise, but one that will not be met. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the national debt is set to rise to £1,437 billion by 2015-16—getting on for double what it was when the coalition parties came into government.