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Clause 3 — Abolition of starting and savings rates and creation of starting rate for savings

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 28th April 2008.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 8:30 pm, 28th April 2008

Let's get this show on the road.

We all remember 21 March 2007, the final Budget delivered by the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer in the past 100 years. Labour Members behind him waved their Order Papers and celebrated the fact that they would finally be rescued from the torment of Tony Blair's leadership, to go instead into a sunlit upland of socialism with a leader who both connected with their base and understood, uniquely, and even better than his predecessor, the instincts of middle England—a leader who would return them for a fourth term in this Parliament. They all went off excitedly to the Tea Room to discuss the triumph that was inevitably theirs.

The leader of the largest Opposition party in the House got to his feet and said, "At last, we have been given a tax cut." He completely failed to notice that the trade-off was that millions of the poorest people in this country, far from getting a tax cut, would see their taxes rise substantially.

The one eminent figure in that debate—the one party leader—who spoke most clearly on the subject was the then Liberal Democrat leader, my right hon. and learned Friend Sir Menzies Campbell, who pointed out precisely the point that has concerned so many Labour MPs in the past few weeks. It just goes to show that there is nothing like an opinion poll or two to concentrate the minds of Labour Members of Parliament. The warning was there and had they stayed to listen to the speeches made by the Liberal Democrats, they would have known that their constituents would be the main losers from that Budget.

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