Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:05 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Ian Swales Ian Swales Liberal Democrat, Redcar 4:05 pm, 1st April 2014

Unfortunately, I was not here during the last Parliament, but I have read a great deal of what my right hon. Friend Vince Cable, now the Business Secretary, said at the time. He was warning of the difficulties many years before they actually arose. I am quite certain that our party was watching the situation carefully, and that it could see what was happening.

There is a growing myth, which was repeated by Stephen Doughty, who is no longer in his place—[Hon. Members: “He is here.”] My apologies; he is in a different place. That myth has also been repeated in the Opposition’s reasoned amendment, which states that

“working people are £1,600 a year worse off”.

Even the Institute for Fiscal Studies would admit that that is to do with gross income; it is not to do with net income, and it is not the amount by which people are worse off. Even the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie pointed that out in his speech. One reason why people are not worse off by that amount is that there has been a large cut in income tax. That was a high priority for the Liberal Democrats, and I am delighted that in a few days’ time people will have experienced a £700 tax cut since the general election. The Bill includes another £100 for basic rate taxpayers.