Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill

Part of Parliament (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 5:28 pm on 26th October 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 5:28 pm, 26th October 2010

In September 2009 Carl Emmerson, acting director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said:

"Abolishing the Child Trust Fund would make newborns worse off in eighteen years time. But spending cuts in other areas might leave them worse off."

That is the challenge that the coalition Government face. This is the question that the hon. Lady should be asking: why did her right hon. and hon. Friends leave the country in such a mess that the present Government are required to take these measures?

Without healthy public finances, we cannot have sustainable growth in our economy. The consequence of failing to act now would be higher interest rates, business failures, rising unemployment and even, potentially, the end of the recovery. So we set out a clear plan, in the Budget statement in June and in the comprehensive spending review statement last week, to tackle the deficit. Last Wednesday the Chancellor set out more than £80 billion of spending reductions to help to deliver the Government's fiscal consolidation plan, which will reduce borrowing by £11 billion per year by 2014-15. The International Monetary Fund has said that our plan

"greatly reduces the risk of a costly loss of confidence in fiscal sustainability and will help rebalance the economy."

The Bill is part of that plan.

I realise that the changes made by the Bill will disappoint some Members and others outside the House. Indeed, when we were in opposition, the Conservative party supported the introduction of the policies that have been removed, although at the time we raised some questions about their effectiveness.