Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 1:36 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:36 pm, 1st April 2014

I had not intended to mention the regions, but I am glad that my hon. Friend has given me the opportunity to do so. His point is absolutely right: the action we have taken and the economic plan the coalition has seen through, through thick and thin—the tax reductions for individuals, motorists and so on, the measures to support investment in important sectors, such as energy and offshore renewables, and the support for exporters—are creating jobs and prosperity up and down the country including, I am delighted to hear, in his area.

I was outlining the immediate changes to pensions flexibility that we are legislating for in the Bill. Taken together, the reforms that I listed mean that more than 400,000 people will be able to access their pension more flexibly in 2014-15. We are making these changes because this Government believe that those who have worked hard and saved sensibly are in the best position to decide for themselves how to provide for their own retirement.

In conclusion, as I am conscious that many Members wish to speak in the debate, the Finance Bill is ambitious, fair, liberal and deals with the biggest issues facing the finances of British people. It takes further steps to deliver long-term sustainable economic growth and to complete the biggest liberalisation of our pension system in nearly a century. It takes the first £10,000 of people’s earnings out of tax altogether and, as such, is a Bill that echoes my objective, and that of my party, of building a stronger economy in a fairer society in which every person has the best chance to get on in life. I commend the Bill to the House.