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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

A plan was set out in the last Labour Budget for a 1p rise in petrol tax, but the Chancellor reversed it. If he could reverse it on petrol tax, why could he not reverse it on the windfall tax? The fact is that it was not his priority. When we entered government in 1997, what did pensioners get? They got £10 in a Christmas bonus. What did they get from Labour? They got £200, and the poorest pensioners got £300. What did we do? We confirmed in Budgets that we could carry on with the £300 in a sensible and proper way for a period of years. It would have been for the Chancellor to decide in this Budget what then to do, but I can tell hon. Members that a Labour Chancellor would have extended it. Instead, a Tory Chancellor cuts it. That is the truth.

The Chancellor is not listening. He just does not get it. He does not get how hard people are being hit by higher VAT and cuts in local services. He does not get what it means to face the fear or reality of unemployment. For the sake of our country’s future, he needs to think again and start putting jobs first—and he needs to start doing that right now.