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My apologies, Madam Deputy Speaker, for not welcoming you to the Chair.
My answer to the hon. Lady's second question is: absolutely not. None of us can resile from the fact that there will need to be not just efficiencies, but cuts and prioritisation of projects and spending, and that will hurt. My fundamental point, which I shall return to in some detail shortly, is about how we do it and when we do it; the timing of it.
I have to say that I could not disagree more with the hon. Lady's earlier point, and neither could most of the child charities or the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. [Interruption.] Yes, we have had criticism for not going far enough, but I return to the remarks of Jim Shannon about child tax credits. They can sometimes be complicated. I sometimes have constituents in my office who say, "Can you help me sort this out, because we have letters going back and forth?" I tell Claire Perry this, however: none of my constituents would do without them because of the material difference they have made to them.
When I send my children to school, I know that if they come home and say they have a trip to go on and it will cost a fiver, a tenner or £20, I can say to them, "Don't you worry. I'm on an MP's salary; it'll be okay." I also know, however, that there are constituents of every Member in this House who will have to make the choice between putting groceries on the table and putting that money towards things such as school trips. So when the hon. Lady says this makes no difference, I can honestly say to her, "Go and look at the statistics. Go and look at the numbers of those who have been lifted out of absolute poverty under the previous Government." If she shares this commitment-as I am sure she does-I tell her to put the pressure on the coalition Government to make it clear before the summer what their poverty targets are, and not for two years, but for five years.
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