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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:27 pm on 19th March 2015.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:27 pm, 19th March 2015

We know from the autumn statement that the OBR confirmed that the scale of these spending cuts was agreed by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary, and the same thing is clear about this Budget document. The OBR says:

“This profile is driven by a medium-term fiscal assumption that the Treasury has confirmed ‘represents the Government’s agreed position for Budget 2015’ and that was ‘discussed by the Quad and agreed by both parties in the Coalition.’”

The Liberal Democrats now come along and say that they were not really in favour of the bedroom tax, and not really in favour of these fiscal plans, but we know the truth. That is why we need a fairer and more balanced approach.

We will have sensible spending cuts in non-protected areas. We will cut winter fuel payments for the richest 5% of pensioners. We will cap child benefit at 1% for two years. The shadow Chief Secretary has been setting out in our zero-based review of every pound spent by Government cuts from rooting out waste and inefficiency in policing, in local government, in defence, and in schools. We are going to get rid of the police and crime commissioner elections. We are going to get rid of the free schools. We are going to stop the overpayment of housing benefit. We are going to deal with the issue of—[Interruption.] I meant new free schools. The shadow Chief Secretary has set out ways in which we can make those sensible cuts in non-protected areas.

We will also make fairer choices. We will reverse—[Interruption.] If the Chancellor wants to intervene, I will happily give way.