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 am interested that the former Secretary of State for Wales should want to make comparisons between the economic performance of Wales and that of the rest of the United Kingdom. As I said earlier, the Jobs Growth Wales scheme has secured work for 12,000 people who would not otherwise have obtained it. In fact, Welsh unemployment is now lower than unemployment elsewhere in the UK. I think that the Welsh Labour Government are doing a very good job, notwithstanding the constant war on Wales being waged by the Conservatives, which the right hon. Gentleman appears to want to continue.

What I have described is the reality of life in Britain today for the constituents whom I have met at food banks, because of the cost of living crisis. We want the Government to take the steps we have recommended. We would like to see a Finance Bill that froze energy bills, reformed the broken market, returned people to work—not just in Wales, but throughout the UK—with a compulsory jobs guarantee, cut taxes for 24 million people on middle and low incomes by introducing a 10p rate, and cut business rates for small firms rather than cutting corporation tax for the biggest. A moment ago, we were talking about the Welsh Labour Government. It was only yesterday that their Economy Minister announced a new business rates relief scheme for retail companies. That is another example of the way in which they are prioritising small businesses, whereas this Government are prioritising those at the top. Of course, we would also reverse the £3 billion tax cut for people earning more than £150,000 a year.