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We have seen that this Government’s plan has failed, as unemployment remains far too high, with a million young people out of work. It has failed, and the economy is back in recession—we are one of only two countries in the G20 that are in recession—and the Government are borrowing more. In fact, in the first two quarters of this financial year, the Government are borrowing £4 billion more than they were last year. Their plan has failed and it is time to try an alternative that gets the economy moving again and that gets people back to work and paying taxes so that the economy can grow and the deficit can be brought down sustainably.
We have proposed a bank bonus tax because we think that it is right that those people with the broadest shoulders should pay a little more. On the day that Bob Diamond has resigned after taking £100 million of bonuses in just a few years, would it not have been far better tonight if we had supported the bank bonus tax and used that money to fund a programme of youth jobs to get our economy working again?
We could have used the Budget and the Government could have used the Finance Bill properly to accelerate infrastructure investment to help the struggling construction industry and to create much needed jobs in our economy. Instead, we have a Bill that will go down in history as a monument to this Government’s incompetence, complacency and inability to grasp that what the current economic situation demands is a Government who stand up for ordinary working people. The Bill fails on fairness and asks millions to pay more so that millionaires can pay less. It fails to address the real challenges that this country faces—a recession made in Downing street and a Government with no plan to get us out of it.