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Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:20 pm on 20th April 2004.

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Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Chief Secretary, HM Treasury, The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:20 pm, 20th April 2004

I shall finish this point before giving way.

If that is not the Conservatives' policy, we are entitled to hear what is. We reject the plans of the Opposition, who would fail to invest in employment opportunities by scrapping the new deal. They favour deep spending cuts year on year, regardless of the needs of public services. Their dogmatic plans to cut spending by £18 billion would weaken the economy and put at risk its hard-won stability. The Government recognise the need to introduce measures that would create a platform of stability for business, and enable the UK to keep pace with the global economy. Promoting enterprise and productivity has long been a key aspect of our economic policy making, and the Bill introduces specific measures to advance that aim. I know that it is tedious for the shadow Chancellor, but I fear that I must take him through those measures. After all, that is the purpose of Second Reading.