Clause 2 — Annual Budget documents

Part of Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) – in the House of Commons at 7:25 pm on 22nd March 2011.

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Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams Liberal Democrat, Bristol West 7:25 pm, 22nd March 2011

This is a short but very important Bill which I hope will change the conduct of economic debates. Of course, we have a Budget and days of economic debate starting tomorrow. I do not know whether the former Prime Minister and Chancellor, Mr Brown, is going to be with us in person, but I am sure that his parliamentary ghost will be with us as we remember Budgets from previous years. We remember his earlier Budgets and his close relationship with Prudence, and we remember that after the 2001 general election was safely out of the way, spending soared. So began the structural deficit, long before the intervention of the banking crisis.

I remember listening to those Budgets, autumn statements and pre-Budget reports year after year, both in a professional environment before I became a Member of Parliament and, from 2005, as an MP. I remember listening to the then Chancellor’s reports of rosy growth and nirvana ahead of us. We heard a bit more of that today from my neighbour, Kerry McCarthy. One would swear that the current Government had inherited a golden legacy in May 2010 rather than the catastrophic public finances that we are actually having to cope with.