Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:18 pm on 25th March 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour, Glasgow Central 6:18 pm, 25th March 2013

That shows us the myth of the Scottish National party. The hon. Gentleman says that the only way to stop the bedroom tax is independence; the bedroom tax will be introduced on 1 April 2013, but according to the SNP timetable, independence day will be 31 March 2016. Members can work it out for themselves.

Plan A clearly is not working. For some time, the Opposition have been calling for additional infrastructure investment to boost the construction sector and we have been urging the Government to act. The Chancellor could have used the funds from the 4G auction to build 100,000 affordable homes, stimulate the economy and help tackle the housing crisis, but instead he decided that public services and public sector workers should bear the burden. Not content with imposing a 1% pay freeze until 2015, he has extended it to 2016. Given the rate of inflation, that is an effective pay cut for hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

With 80,000 construction workers out of work, construction output has fallen by 8.2%. The Government announced an extra £225 million for affordable housing, but only £125 million of that will be spent before 2015 according to the OBR, and it is dwarfed by the £4 billion cut in funding for affordable housing that the Chancellor made in his first Budget. Even after that investment the coalition Government’s record will still be a cut of around £10 billion in infrastructure projects.

It says everything about the Government’s attitude that they cut real-terms pay for millions of public sector workers, while giving the green light to slash corporation tax for big business. Research by the House of Commons Library, published today, confirms that the reductions in corporation tax will cost £29 billion in total, £10 billion over the life of the current Parliament alone. That policy enjoys the full support of the Scottish nationalists, who want to see a future independent Scotland at the front of a race to the bottom, a low tax country with an economy like Iceland—or perhaps like

Ireland. I have not seen the latest Scottish Government press release, so I do not know which country they are modelling their assessment on this week.