Ways and Means — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 20th March 2015.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Exchequer Secretary 2:17 pm, 20th March 2015

The hon. Gentleman will recognise that I do not have time to give way.

In every single region of the United Kingdom, unemployment has fallen over the past year. We should put to bed the desperate myth of the Labour party that the new jobs are somehow second-tier jobs. That is an insult to the British public. Some 80% of the jobs are full time and 80% of them are in skilled occupations. Each and every one of them represents one more person standing on their own two feet. The Budget delivers for every single region of our great nation, whether it is by helping manufacturing in the midlands, connecting the south-west or growing the economy.

I would like to pay tribute to a number of Government Members. My right hon. Friend Gregory Barker, my hon. Friend Mr Yeo, my right hon. Friends the Members for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath), for Havant (Mr Willetts) and for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Sir John Randall), my hon. Friend Mr Ruffley, my right hon. Friends the Members for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) and for South East Cambridgeshire (Sir James Paice) and my hon. Friend Laura Sandys are all distinguished Members who have made substantial contributions to the House and to this afternoon’s debate. They covered some of the key Budget points that affect their constituencies. They drew on their expertise from their time in the House or from their time as Ministers to speak in detail about infrastructure, energy, jobs, education and higher education.

My right hon. and hon. Friends also spoke about the prudent financial management that this Government have introduced through our long-term economic plan. It is this Government who have set out long-term economic plans for every region in the United Kingdom. It is this Government who are committed to investing in the whole of the United Kingdom. It is this Government whose long-term infrastructure plan is connecting our regions.

My hon. Friend Iain Stewart mentioned the housing growth and infrastructure growth in his constituency. I will come back to him on the personal pension allowance, which he asked me to do. We are allowing the local leaders in our communities to make the key growth-delivering decisions in their areas, rather than making top-down decisions from the centre. We are recovering from the worst recession since the second world war. We are turning the country’s finances around, improving the lives of hard-working families, and putting more of people’s hard-earned cash back into their pockets where it belongs. We are increasing living standards, with real household disposable income revised up to increase by 3.7% this year, and to keep on rising—

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Interruption.

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As ever, the Labour party sneers when it comes to discussing living standards and household incomes. [Labour Members: “What?”] Well, let us be clear: the best way to improve living standards is to get people back into work and boost productivity and growth. This Government have delivered the highest levels of employment ever. Unemployment is down to 1975 levels—it has fallen at its fastest and was down by just under 500,000 in the year to December 2014. We are putting Britain back on its feet, and this Budget marks a step in delivering prosperity to all corners of our country.

The choice our country faces is between returning to the economic chaos that Labour Members were part of under the previous Government, or sticking to the long- term economic plan that will deliver for the constituents of Emily Thornberry and every Member of this House. In this Budget we choose the future and are taking another big step on the road to a stronger economy.

As I close this debate I thank all hon. Members for their contributions this afternoon, and in particular I send—[Interruption.] I hoped for a degree of courtesy and civility at this point. I send my best wishes to all right hon. and right hon. Members who have made their last contributions in the Chamber today. I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for your time overseeing debates and the civil way you have handled them, and I commend the Budget to the House.

Ordered, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Greg Hands.)

Debate to be resumed Monday 23 March.