Today the Opposition have reminded us why Labour can never be trusted with the economy again. So appalling is its reputation on all matters economic that even its former Chancellor, and now we hear its former Prime Minister, are seeking to join the exodus from the parliamentary Labour party, belatedly fleeing the scene of the economic carnage they helped to create. Chris Leslie spoke about the 2010 autumn statement. Back then the former shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnson, forecast that there would be a “jobless recovery”. Since then Labour have become a broken record, and over the past four years they have been proved wrong about the economy and sought to mislead and frighten the public at every opportunity. Instead of presenting a sustainable economic plan to the House today, they come here and use this very rare debate on the economy to talk down the economy, and sneer at those who want to work hard and to get on in life, which is why I would like to start by bringing the House’s attention to a few basic economic facts about their track record.
With a record peacetime deficit, increased unemployment and a welfare system that was broken, Labour left Britain’s economy in a mess. On top of that they doubled income tax for the poorest, and insulted pensioners with derisory levels of state pensions, not to mention the mean-spirited 75p increase in state pension; that is how the Labour party rewards our pensioners after a lifetime of work. Labour also oversaw a doubling of council tax, increased the rate of fuel duty 12 times, and failed to support parents with child care costs, yet they have the audacity to come here today and lecture us about child care costs. The Government are reforming child care through tax-free child care and sustainably helping hard-working and hard-pressed families up and down the country.