[Un-allotted Half Day] — Future Government Spending

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 4th March 2015.

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Photo of Andy Sawford Andy Sawford Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) 5:08 pm, 4th March 2015

I would like to say that it is a pleasure to follow Mr Jackson, but he reminded me of a performance by Sir Ian Bowler at a “Stand up for Labour” event at the Labour club in my constituency, which was a caricature of a particularly unpleasant form of Conservatism in this country. I can see now how Ian Bowler was inspired. The hon. Gentleman used ugly language to portray a gross mischaracterisation of the events of recent years.

The hon. Gentleman called for some humility. He might have acknowledged that when the Government came to office, they promised to balance the books and said that we would all be in it together. They have failed on both counts, and people in his Peterborough constituency know that.

“In five years’ time, we will have balanced the books,” the Prime Minister told the CBI in October 2010. Let us be absolutely clear: that promise has been broken. They have not balanced the books and the next Labour Government are set to inherit a large deficit as a result. The Office for Budget Responsibility says that borrowing in 2015-16 is set to be £75 billion. The Government will be borrowing over £200 billion more than they planned in 2010. It is because of their failure to deliver on debt and tackle the cost of living crisis that we so desperately need a Labour Government.

Despite Tory claims that our economy is fixed—Conservative Members go around the country and we see pictures of the Chancellor in his hard hat doing a lap of honour while the public look on incredulous—wages have stagnated for many workers. Too many of the jobs that are being created are in low-paid insecure work, rather than high-productivity sectors. I have consistently called for action on zero-hours exploitation, and I introduced a private Member’s Bill on the issue. I am pleased that we have made a tiny bit of progress, and I was proud of the role I played in getting the Office for National Statistics to change the way it records figures so that we now have a more accurate reflection of the situation.