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Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 10:20 am on 29th November 1996.

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Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for National Heritage 10:20 am, 29th November 1996

Indeed, I heard that interview and I have also seen the reports in the press today. What disconcerts Conservative Members is the fact that there is growing recognition that Britain cannot compete on miserably low levels of income. That is recognised throughout Europe and in the United States of America.

The idea that we can somehow improve the quality of our product and our services by paying people low wages is absurd.

I have never understood the Conservative party's argument that it is necessary to pay those on high incomes more to make them work harder, but those on low incomes less and to give those on large incomes tax reductions to improve their incentives, but to increase the tax burdens on those on low and middle incomes. That is an absurd argument and I cannot believe that in their heart of hearts many Conservative Members believe in it.