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 am grateful to my hon. Friend for addressing that point. Yes, such transparency would help a great deal. Let us elevate the level of public debate and allow an independent assessment of those policy costings. The public can then decide for themselves and make a judgment about the relative merits of the various policies in the manifestos of the major political parties. I know that in his heart the Chief Secretary to the Treasury agrees. I know that he realises that the Chancellor is standing in the way because the Chancellor wants to run the general election campaign by means of smears and falsehoods, giving a false impression of the policies of the other political parties. We must grow up and raise the standard of debate. Let the OBR be the judge of these things. Ministers can talk among themselves and perhaps negotiate concessions so that when we come to the Committee stage of the Bill, we may be able to reach cross-party agreement on that point.