Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 5:16 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Conservative, Macclesfield 5:16 pm, 1st April 2014

That is true, and so were the Prime Minister and others, but I was not. I was working in the world of commerce and had severe reservations, like other Members no doubt, about the policies of the Labour Government. Let us look at the results: the bust that was created after the boom. We are clearing up that mess.

It is a pleasure to speak about the Bill, and a pleasure to speak about the way in which it builds on the Budget. Not only does it make Britain more competitive on the world stage, but, crucially, it reduces the barriers to competition and consumer choice here at home. It is vital to our residents as well as to our businesses. It is a sensible, responsible Bill from a sensible and very responsive Government. It is a Bill for enterprise, intended to rebuild trust in our economy and in our public finances, and also to rebuild the trust that this Government are on the side of the consumer, taxpayer, the saver and, of course, the entrepreneur. That is necessary, because confidence in the economy and in the free-market system can be regained only by increasing the power of choice and market knowledge among consumers. The crisis of confidence—the trauma of trust—that we inherited was a natural reaction to the failures of the Labour Government, and threatened to damage wider belief in prospects throughout the market economy itself.

It was not just a market problem that we faced; it was the problems of yet another Labour Government that we were having to clean up. A great deal of good has already come from the reversal of Labour’s policies on tax, and their disposition to micro-manage and, of course, to misspend. This Government have been opening up the economy to transparency and to competition—not least in banking—and putting the consumer and opportunities for new entrants to markets first. It has been a long, hard road, and there is more to follow. The global race is a marathon, not a sprint. We inherited the extraordinary deficit that many Labour Members want to deny, which amounted to 11% of GDP between 2009 and 2010, but will be halved to 5.5% of GDP next year.