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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 8:15 pm on 28th April 2008.

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Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 8:15 pm, 28th April 2008

We have already dealt with that one; the hon. Lady was obviously thinking about something else at the time.

The hon. Members for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson) and for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Havard) both popped up on our television screens expressing the slightly heretical thought that perhaps the right hon. Member for Birkenhead had been a little too hasty in accepting the Prime Minister's vague assurances. They have clearly both noticed, as have Conservative Members, that when shaking on a deal with the Prime Minister, it is a sensible precaution to make sure one has got all one's fingers back in one's possession before counting the deal as done.

There is no doubt that the combined determination of the Opposition and a core of courageous Labour Back Benchers scored a great victory last week and exposed the Prime Minister, once again, as weak and indecisive. Nothing will detract from that achievement, but now it is our job, as the Opposition, to ensure that what has been promised is delivered. Today, the Prime Minister has not exactly reassured those of a nervous disposition, saying at lunchtime:

"We have sorted out the problems that existed which were the under-65s and we are sorting out the low-paid by looking at what we can do to help them".

I must have blinked, because I missed the announcement on how precisely the under-65s are to be helped. For the Prime Minister's information, "looking at" how to help someone is not the same as "sorting out the problem".

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