[Un-allotted Half Day] — Future Government Spending

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 4th March 2015.

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Photo of David Anderson David Anderson Labour, Blaydon 4:50 pm, 4th March 2015

I rarely disagree with my hon. Friend, but I could never bring myself to watch the Tory party conference. However, I heard what they said, and it is quite clear what they would do: they would have to take £7 billion from somewhere, and it will be the public sector. They are committed to going back to the level that things were at in the 1930s, when people in this country were, quite frankly, living like slaves, working in conditions that were abhorrent and going home to houses that were a disgrace. That is why when my party came into government in 1945 we had a massive house building project. That is why we nationalised the coal industry, the rail industry and the steel industry—the Conservatives had let them run into disrepair for decades and did not care a toss about the people who worked in them and lived in conditions that were worse than we could ever imagine.

The Government have not only failed on those levels—they have also failed to collect money because they have made people go out of wealthier jobs into low-paid jobs where they are not paying income tax or national insurance contributions. They have collected £68 billion less in income tax than they projected and lost £27 billion in national insurance contributions. You couldn’t make it up, Mr Deputy Speaker. We can see where they want to be. They want to take us back to the 1930s, when we had a low-paid, low-skill work force who were frightened to stand up to the boss, made to go to work when they did not want to, and made to work for poverty wages. That is exactly what they want to us to go back to—unless, of course, you are one of their friends who happens to be the chairman of a FTSE 100 company, and who last year, on average, had a £4.27 million salary. That is a lot of money, even for the Conservatives. Perhaps it is not as much as some of them earn, but it is a lot of money. The directors in those firms got a 21% pay rise, on average, while at the same time the Government are denying a pay rise of even a meagre 1% to nurses, firefighters and care workers—the people who keep this country running day in, day out, and contribute more in a day than some of these leeches will do in a lifetime.