Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:12 pm, 1st April 2014

I beg to move,

That this House
declines to give the Finance (No. 2) Bill a Second Reading because it fails to address the cost-of-living crisis which will see working people worse off at the end of this Parliament than at the beginning;
because while working people are £1,600 a year worse off it prioritises a tax cut for millionaires of on average £100,000;
because it offers a marriage tax allowance which will help only a third of married couples, rather than a 10 pence starting rate of tax which would help millions more families;
and because it fails to set out measures to tackle rising energy bills, get young people into work, boost housing supply and help families with childcare costs within this Parliament.

You would not know it from hearing the Chief Secretary, Madam Deputy Speaker, but this Finance Bill is a massive missed opportunity when much more is needed. It has so many pages—the document I have in my hands is only half of it—yet it is a minor Bill when we need major reforms to address public concerns. The annuities changes diverted attention from the shortcomings of the rest of the Budget, and that short-term approach reflects the short-term ambitions of the Chancellor and the Government at large.

We will seek to improve the Bill in Committee, but it is important that we reflect on its contents and on those things that ought to have been in it but were not. That is why we propose that the House declines to give the Finance Bill a Second Reading this evening: it fails to address the cost of living crisis that, as my hon. Friends recognise, will leave working people worse off at the end of this Parliament than they were at the beginning, as the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted. While working people are £1,600 a year worse off, it prioritises a tax cut for millionaires of typically about £100,000 and offers a marriage tax allowance that helps only a third of married couples rather than, for example, a 10p starting rate of income tax that would genuinely help millions more families. It also fails to set out measures to tackle rising energy bills, get young people into work, boost housing supply and help families with child care costs. Those are the priorities that we believe ought to be in the Bill but are not.