It is a pleasure to be able to speak in this House again after several years of being allowed to say only things like, "Beg to move" and, "Tomorrow". I crave the indulgence of the House, as I am not used to making substantial speeches any more.
I want to go back to what we have heard over the past few months from both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. It has been a constant refrain of, "We're all in this together." Now that we have seen their Budget and the Finance Bill, we can see how hollow that soundbite was. What is taking place under this Con-Dem Government is very simply an attack on the poorest people in this country conducted by people who think poverty is not being able to afford the uniform for the Bullingdon club. It is an attack on working families on low wages conducted by people who are the inheritors of trust funds. It is an attack on jobs fronted up by two people-a Prime Minister who got his first job after a phone call from Buckingham Palace, and a Deputy Prime Minister who got into the European Commission because his next door neighbour knew the right man to ring. If only it was as easy for everyone else out there.
It is clear from a simple analysis of the Budget that the poorest are affected three times as much by the increase in VAT as the richest; that the poorest 10% of the population lose as a percentage of their income twice as much as the richest 10%. It is significant, when we look at the measures in the Finance Bill, that a private client partner from Ernst and Young was quoted in The Guardian as saying:
"the fiscal impact on the higher earners is largely restricted to the increase in CGT together with some fiscal drag caused by the freezing of the higher rate threshold."
That is what we are seeing in this Bill.
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