Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill

Part of Parliament (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 7:56 pm on 26th October 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 7:56 pm, 26th October 2010

The hon. Gentleman's point is fundamentally flawed. In 1997, the socialist Government decided to stick to Conservative spending targets. That is the one sensible decision that they made. It is not surprising that they managed to reduce the public debt by doing what the Conservatives had said that they would do. As for the deficit that built up before the crisis hit, there was a structural deficit-probably equivalent to 7% or 8% of GDP-which had resulted from excessive and extravagant expenditure. That is the nub of what we are debating today. We need to examine these benefits, and establish whether they are right in principle.

I will declare an interest. My three children have been the fortunate beneficiaries of £250 each-£250 spent extraordinarily well, Members may think, beneficially and wisely, so that in 18 years' time my children will have something to spend when they are a little older. Is this really a sensible use of taxpayers' money? It is too small a sum to make a difference even with the benefits of compound interest, yet too large a sum for our public finances to stand when aggregated across the whole of the economy and the total number of children who will be born. It is a wrong benefit, which is rightly being abolished. To contradict Kate Green, who spoke before me, it is also a benefit that cannot be spent for 18 years; it will be of no economic benefit until the child is 18.