Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:03 pm on 25th March 2013.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Labour, East Lothian 9:03 pm, 25th March 2013

No, thank you.

I want a more joined-up approach to government. Iberdrola is currently investing £10 billion in this country, but it is sitting on £3 billion because of the mess that is this Government’s energy policy. The coal-powered power station at Cockenzie in my constituency has closed and Iberdrola is not willing to invest until it gets some clarity from the Government. Some 1,000 construction jobs are on hold in my constituency, as are apprenticeships in a year when youth unemployment has risen by more than 7%. Will the Treasury team get together with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and get this in order, so that Iberdrola can invest in my constituency and the UK?

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend Margaret Hodge for the work that her Public Accounts Committee has done to let some sunshine on the disgraceful practice of tax avoidance in this country. I also praise the Government for meeting their commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on development aid. I welcome that, but I want them to go further in the Finance Bill. There was outrage in this House and across the country at the practices of some companies headquartered overseas, and people in developing countries have the same right to be outraged if British companies do not pay their fair share of tax there. Will the Government take the opportunity provided by the Finance Bill to ensure clarity and transparency and that developing countries have the right to money that has been earned at the expense of their natural resources—the labour of their people—to be invested in their countries so that they can make their own choices? I hope that such a commitment will eventually be made.

The judgment on this Government has been set not by hon. Members, but by the Office for Budget Responsibility, the 200,000 children who will be in poverty at the end of this Government’s time in office who were not in poverty before, and the people who will be worse off in 2015 than they were in 2010. I urge the Government’s Front-Bench team to listen to the Opposition and to the people of this country, and to get their act together.