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Schedule 23 — Air passenger duty

Part of “Group 12 — Caravans – in the House of Commons at 10:43 pm on 3rd July 2012.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Labour, Sefton Central 10:43 pm, 3rd July 2012

I am not sure what that has to do with what I was talking about. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can agree with me that what we need is action from this Government—action to help young people find jobs.

Charlie Elphicke, who is no longer here, mentioned several times the fact that the banks are not lending and said that that is the problem, but he forgot to say that the reason the banks are not lending is that they have no confidence in this Government—the Government who have pushed us back into a double-dip recession so that we are now one of only two countries in Europe in that position, the other being Italy. That lack of confidence is why banks would rather shore up their own position—and, of course, pay exorbitant bonuses to their top executives.

The banks are not lending to the small businesses that need the money to create the jobs and drive the growth that is needed. Unless the banks start to do that, the Government need to step in.

That is why the proposal from Labour is so important. It is why repeating the bankers’ bonus tax would make so much difference to young people and to this country as a whole. But what did we get from this Government? The cut in the 50p tax rate. Three hundred thousand of the wealthiest people in the country will benefit from a tax cut paid for by the rest of us, particularly the poorest and pensioners through the granny tax. That is the reality of the Government’s proposal, which they are pushing through tonight. That is why we should oppose the Bill.

What I expected was an end to the sort of heckling we have heard from Ministers, who clearly enjoy the prospect of young people being out of work. I would like to think that that is not what they really think. I had hoped for a degree of fairness from the Government—perhaps I was being unreasonably optimistic. There is nothing fair in 300,000 of the wealthiest—