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Pre-Budget Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 3:29 pm on 24th November 2008.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Chancellor of the Exchequer 3:29 pm, 24th November 2008

No, because the money is being re-profiled. As I said, and as the hon. Gentleman said, it is not new money. If, for example, the Department for Communities and Local Government brought forward money from its budget to spend it this year, rather than in three years' time, it would be difficult to argue that it was new money, and that his colleagues in Scotland should get a share of it. Of course, the Scottish Executive could re-profile their spending, if they wanted to. We have made that clear since September. As of a couple of days ago, no such request has been made, but if they would like to make such a request, that would be eminently sensible. It would be much supported by people in Scotland. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman should pass the message on to Mr. Salmond, who might want to consider it in the course of his busy day.

In relation to fuel duty, I said that we have reduced VAT on fuel, but I am increasing duty on it, so that the effect will be as though there was no reduction in fuel duty. What people pay is remaining exactly the same, because I am taking account of the fact that petrol and diesel prices have fallen quite a lot, even in the last month or so. We are not allowed to have a large number of differential VAT rates, so that is the only way in which I can maintain the status quo, which is what I have done.

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