It is always a pleasure to follow Charlie Elphicke, who offers such insight and entertainment value to the House. He called for optimism, and I hope to paint him a picture of the sunlit uplands of a Britain changing under the next Labour Government, elected next year.
Today is a day of anniversaries that demonstrate the difference in values between this coalition Government and the previous Labour Government—and, indeed, the different values of the next Labour Government. Fifteen years ago today, the national minimum wage came into effect. We had seen people in this country paid less than £1 an hour, with some of the most disgraceful poverty pay to be found in a large developed European country. But of course, last year, this day was the day on which the iniquitous and vile bedroom tax came into force. Anyone who has dealt with constituents—anyone who, as I did last year, has held the hand of a disabled lady with tears in her eyes, who was wondering how any Government could visit such an iniquitous tax on people like her—will recognise the differences in those values and the significance of those two anniversaries.
Those different values are written throughout this Finance Bill. This is not the Finance Bill that this country needed or with which it should have been presented. It is a damp squib of a Finance Bill—a no-change Finance Bill from a bedraggled Government who are increasingly all at sea.