Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Opposition Whip (Commons) 3:49 pm, 1st April 2014

I listened with care and interest to Richard Harrington, and I challenge the idea sometimes portrayed by Conservative Members that the Labour party is somehow against business and does not understand it or the value it creates for the economy. We all do. I meet many small and large businesses in my community every week. Of course I want to see them grow and employ more people. I want them to employ people on better wages with better conditions and add that value. The comments of the hon. Member for Watford about people being able to buy Ferraris are revealing and go to the heart of the Government’s problem, which is that they have done so much to help big businesses and bigger earners but done so little—or indeed have targeted—those who have less, be they small businesses or individuals on low incomes. That is the fundamental difference between those on the Government Benches and those on the Opposition Benches.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak on the Finance Bill and to support the reasoned amendment. As my hon. Friend Chris Leslie made clear, the Bill is long and weighty but will do remarkably little, if anything, to tackle the cost of living crisis facing many of my constituents. It will do much to support bigger earners and bigger businesses at the expense of small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses, and small and medium income earners in constituencies such as mine. It will do very little for the bank clerk or the call centre operator working for the banks and the financial industry in my constituency. It will do very little for the cleaner taking on a second or third job to make ends meet to be able to pay basic bills. The basic costs of living, whether energy, food or heating, are rising for them. It will do very little for the shift workers working in supermarkets in my constituency.