Finance (No. 2) Bill

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Indeed, I will come on to the value of high paid and well paid work later in my remarks. That is one of the reasons I am such a strong supporter of the living wage. I am not surprised that Government Members will not give us an answer, when asked about the job figures, on how many of them are part-time, zero-hours contracts and minimum wage jobs. That is deeply revealing.

Businesses across my constituency are still struggling to get competitive financing to grow, yet bank bonuses are rising again. The Chancellor is using his time in Europe to fight on the bankers’ behalf, rather than looking at how we regulate our banks and financial sector in a sustainable and fair way that will drive real investment and real jobs in our economy.

What affect businesses in my constituency just as strongly, and 2.4 million businesses across the country, are energy price rises. They have hit the cafes I visit in Grangetown as much as they have hit the hard-working nurse or police officer who is struggling to pay with their energy bills in places such as St Mellons and Penarth in my constituency. Energy bills have risen by £300 a year since the election. The Government constantly try to con us into believing that they are cutting bills, but the bills continue to rise. The Government remain unwilling to agree to an energy price freeze, although this week one of the major energy companies agreed to freeze its prices.

Earlier, my hon. Friend Bridget Phillipson spoke passionately about visiting food banks in her constituency. I meet people who are struggling to get by: people who have been in work and have been looking for work, but who are now experiencing the indignity of having to go to food banks for emergency help.