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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:25 pm on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:25 pm, 20th March 2014

The Chancellor promised that he would abolish the structural deficit in this Parliament and he is going to fail absolutely. We went into the financial crisis with a lower national debt than America, France, Germany and Japan. The deficit went up because of a financial crisis and the failure of the banks. There was a recovery in 2010 and his failed policies choked it off. That is the reality. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman the facts. The Chancellor has already borrowed more in the three years of this Government than the last Labour Government borrowed in 13 years. Perhaps he should be apologising for his abject failure on the deficit, the debt and growth. That is what we should be hearing from him.

It will take the next Labour Government to clear up the mess left by this Chancellor. The Government have failed to get rid of the deficit. We will have to do the job. That is why we have been clear that we will balance the books in the next Parliament. We will have the current budget back in surplus and the national debt falling as soon as we can and before the end of the next Parliament. We will abolish his discredited idea of rolling five-year fiscal targets, which he never meets, and instead legislate for tough fiscal rules.

I will tell you what else we will do, Mr Deputy Speaker. I hope that the Chancellor will reflect on what I am about to say and think again.