Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:56 pm on 6th July 1983.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:56 pm, 6th July 1983

The right hon. Gentleman has his facts wrong. If he looked at the figures given by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and published in The Sunday Times on 20 March, he would have seen that real take-home pay—people's standard of living — has varied enormously under this Government according to their housing tenure and level of income. A company director earning £44,700 a year has gained £119 a week while a couple on pension have lost 91p a week and a semi-skilled worker living in a council house has lost £8·05 a week in real terms.

The Government's success is that they have been the first Government for 50 years to make the nation poorer. Real personal disposable income per head, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, rose by 12 per cent. between 1974 and 1979 under the Labour Government and fell under this Government by 4 per cent. What makes the Government's record even more abject is that the whole of the loss of national income has been borne by those people who are out of work while those who are already well off have enjoyed a substantial increase in their standard of living.