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

For all the Government’s talk of a balanced, sustainable recovery, we see no action. Most of our constituents and most businesses would recognise that supply and demand have to be part of the picture. Everybody recognises that except, it seems, for the Chancellor and Chief Secretary, who do not recognise the fundamental problem in their approach.

There needed to be tough decisions, such as the 50p rate, in the Bill to make sure that there was fairness in dealing with the deficit and that we tackled the Government’s failure to keep their promise about balancing the books. That has not come to fruition. We need to help with business rates; we should be cutting them rather than simply focusing help on 2% of companies.

The Government are not ensuring a sustainable and balanced recovery. Consumers are having to dip into their savings at an alarming and increasing rate. The OBR even predicts that growth may well slow in future, when those savings run out. Exports are not predicted to contribute a thing to the economy for the next five years and nothing in the Budget tackles the country’s productivity crisis that has emerged in recent years.

Instead, the Exchequer Secretary and Chief Secretary have convinced themselves that cutting public services and raising taxes have helped economic growth. They believe their own propaganda about expansionary fiscal contraction, which was the philosophy of the right in British politics. It used to be the opposite of the Liberal Democrats’ view, but of course they have now bought into the concept.