National Insurance Contributions Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 4th November 2013.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 4:18 pm, 4th November 2013

My hon. Friend makes a valuable point that is well worth highlighting. When running a deficit of the size that we were running, we face some tough decisions. We have taken a range of measures to reduce the deficit, and it has reduced by a third.

Ultimately, though, whoever was in government was going to have to take these difficult decisions. If we are not prepared to take difficult decisions on spending—there is no evidence that Labour Members would do so—the answer is that we have to increase taxes. When we look around to see what taxes are available, it is clear that some very difficult decisions have to be made. Labour Members chose to go for employers’ national insurance contributions; perhaps they considered that that option was less visible to the general public than some of the others. However, the consequences would have been higher unemployment, and this Government were not prepared to face that.