Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:14 pm on 23rd March 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee 3:14 pm, 23rd March 2011

Indeed, the bank levy will come down to just £100 million by 2015-16.

The change to the oil and gas charge has come as a bit of a shock, and it worries me. From looking at the Red Book, I am getting more and more worried about what the Chancellor has announced today. The Red Book states:

“The Supplementary Charge on oil and gas production will therefore increase to 32 per cent from midnight tonight.”

There was no warning, and it will have come as a big shock to the industry. The effect could be dramatic in my constituency. I only hope that the Chancellor has thought the matter through and had some discussions with the industry. I suspect he has not, and I am worried about what will happen.

I wonder what other nasties are lurking in the Red Book. Last time it was the 10% sanction on housing benefit when someone had been out of work for a year, which we did not discover until days afterwards. I am glad that the Government have backed down on that and that today’s Red Book shows that money again.

From a cursory glance at the Red Book, I discover something that comes as a bit of a surprise to those of us who were here for Prime Minister’s questions today. The Leader of the Opposition asked the Prime Minister why the Government were taking the higher-rate mobility component of disability allowance from people living in residential care. Those who were here will remember that the Prime Minister replied, “We are not”—a simple, straightforward answer. However, line d on page 44 of the Red Book is about the plan to

“remove mobility components for claimants in residential care from April 2013”,

with a figure of £155 million to be saved. That is different from the last Red Book, which stated that the change would come in in 2011-12 and save £135 million. All that the Government have done is delay it by two years. As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the change is still in the Welfare Reform Bill, and here it is in the Red Book. Perhaps the Prime Minister might want to come to the Chamber and apologise for not having been as accurate as he might have been.