Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Julie Hilling Julie Hilling Opposition Whip (Commons) 4:19 pm, 1st April 2014

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. I will come on to some of the details in just a moment.

Before they say that Labour should have done more to regulate the banks, Government Members must show some humility. The Conservatives wanted less regulation. Yes, Labour responded by boosting public spending and borrowing to offset the catastrophic collapse in private sector spending, and the £90 billion spent on the bank bailout plunged the public sector into record annual deficit, but what would they have done? Would they have allowed the banks to collapse and allowed us to go into a depression worse than that in the 1930s? Would they have allowed thousands, if not millions, to lose their houses, their pensions and their jobs? Yes, we bailed out the banks, we cut VAT and income tax and we gave 150,000 businesses more time to pay their tax bills. We put in place measures that helped 300,000 people stay in their homes and we set out how we would halve the deficit over four years once the recovery was in place.

Do Conservative Members agree with those who were on their Front Bench at that time? They opposed the fiscal stimulus and the measures to support the economy and families. They pushed for the deregulation of the mortgage market even as the crisis began and they voted against the Bill that became the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008, which would have let Northern Rock fail. Where would families and businesses be now if the Tories had got their way then?