Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:20 pm on 7th July 1997.

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Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Shadow Secretary of State for Education 5:20 pm, 7th July 1997

My former colleague did not do that—the Chief Secretary should get his details right. He reduced ACT from 25 to 20 per cent. because we had a stated policy of reducing the basic rate of tax to 20 per cent.—and we were well on the way to delivering that. The Chief Secretary should read his brief. I am sure that he will make more telling interventions when they are rehearsed.

The Government's pensions policy can have only one of two effects: either it will reduce the value of pensions paid to pensioners, and therefore the Chancellor is directly raiding the living standards of Britain's pensioners, present and future; or it will more likely increase the cost of employer-provided pensions. The latter is the slightly better outcome from the pensioners' point of view. However, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment is responsible for promoting employment. We are supposed to believe that the Chancellor has introduced a Budget for employment. How does he believe that he will promote employment by raising pension contributions and, therefore, raising the cost of employing people?