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Part of Opposition Day — [17th( )Allotted Day] — Horsemeat – in the House of Commons at 6:46 pm on 12th February 2013.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 6:46 pm, 12th February 2013

I am grateful for the opportunity to conclude this debate.

I have listened with great interest to the 11 Back-Bench contributions in the Chamber this afternoon. This is clearly an issue about which many Members feel strongly. It is also an issue that Members on both sides of the House seem to agree on in many ways. Both sides want to see a UK with world-class infrastructure and both sides recognise the importance of improved infrastructure for the nation’s economic future.

However, only one party ruined the UK economy after 13 years in government, hugely damaging the UK’s ability to invest in the very infrastructure that we all care about. It was the party that tabled the motion. That same party left the UK with the largest budget deficit in the G20. [Interruption.] Labour Members say that we should look forward. It is no surprise that they want the country to look forward, because they do not want us to remember their legacy, but the country must remember. They left a budget deficit higher than 11% of GDP. They borrowed £159 billion in their last year in government—£5,000 in each and every second of that final year.

Had the previous Government not messed up the regulation of the financial sector, they would not have had to carry out the biggest banking bail-out the world has ever seen, with £65 billion being put into RBS and Lloyds alone. Imagine how much new infrastructure that money could have been invested in. As if that was not bad enough, let us not forget the decision to sell off the nation’s gold reserves at record low prices. Had they not done that, the country would have been £10 billion richer. One thing that we did not hear from a single Labour Member this afternoon was an apology for the damage that they did to this country.

Despite that toxic legacy, this Government have restored economic confidence. We have slashed the record budget deficit by a quarter. We have restored economic credibility and opened Britain up for business again. That credibility has led to record low interest rates, with the Government’s 10-year funding costs having halved since 2010. Each of those steps has been crucial to creating an economic environment in which the Government can invest in infrastructure, and one in which investors feel their funds are secure.