I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
Last week’s Budget was a successful one politically. It worked because it identified that the cost of living affects all our constituents. I particularly welcome the fact that the Chancellor, by getting rid of the beer duty escalator and checking the fuel duty escalator put in by the previous Government, for example, recognised the rising cost of living for many of our constituents.
Before proceeding, I would like to refer to some of the remarks made by Mr Darling, who, as we all know, was a prominent member of the previous Labour Government. He mentioned the fact that the OBR had consistently failed in its forecasts over the course of this Parliament. He also mentioned the fact that we are borrowing at record levels. That is all true. But what he did not mention, or make any apology for, was the share of responsibility that he and the previous Government must admit to in the creation of our largest peacetime deficit. People will look back on the period between 2001 and 2007 in this country as one of the most, if not the most, profligate and irresponsible periods in the management of our public finances.