Jobs and Social Security

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:46 pm on 28th November 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:46 pm, 28th November 2012

I shall make some progress, but I promise to give way to the hon. Lady.

Let us deal with the final point made by the right hon. Gentleman in the motion: that somehow all this could be solved if only we did not cut, change or reform anything and implemented a bank bonus tax to fund a real jobs guarantee. Such a one-off tax would be worth £3.5 million. However, we have introduced an annual bank levy, which raises much more money over the period. The Opposition did not introduce such a levy when they were in power.

Let us look at the bank bonus tax that they propose. I love the fact that that tax is wheeled out whenever they are in a corner. It has already been used to cover the spending of £13.5 billion that they committed to make when reversing the VAT increase. It has been used for more capital spending—£5.8 billion—and again to reverse tax credit savings of £5.5 billion. It was used to build 25,000 extra homes—£1.2 billion. It was used again to reverse child benefit savings of £1.7 billion, and more and more.

It is a joke to keep wheeling out that ridiculous programme as an excuse for what the Opposition should be doing, which, as my right hon. Friend Mr Redwood said earlier, is telling us what they would do instead, where they would make the necessary savings and how they would reform welfare. That is the main issue.