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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:41 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:41 pm, 24th March 2011

I noticed that the Chancellor did not choose to intervene with the answer that I was hoping for, but there we are. The fact is, when we came into government in 1997, we made the Bank of England independent and he opposed it.

We had a period of sustained growth and rising employment. The Conservatives said that the national minimum wage would cost jobs, but employment went up. Under the Conservatives child poverty doubled; under Labour it came down.

We had the longest sustained period of investment in the NHS since the second world war, but there was a global financial recession, which affected countries around the world. Who dealt with that? The British people should be thankful that it was not the Chancellor and his friends, because opposing nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock would have been a catastrophe for the British economy.