The Economy

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:20 pm on 4th June 2015.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:20 pm, 4th June 2015

I know that the hon. Gentleman wants to make his political points, but I think we have a duty to ensure that we examine far more forensically the drivers of economic productivity and the growth that will help us to repair the public finances more successfully. That is the agenda we have to follow.

These are serious times, and we needed a serious Queen’s Speech agenda to address Britain’s long-term economic challenges. We should not forget that progress in our economy is still fragile and the recovery is still too constrained. The economy remains fraught with pressures, which have been heaped on the shoulders of many working people. For example, the number of people who have to work a second job in order to get by has increased dramatically in recent years, and a record number of pensioners are returning to the labour market. Indeed, the number of over-65s in employment has increased by more than 8% over the past year alone. The Office for National Statistics says that our share of high-skilled jobs is falling. The Government’s vision for Britain is one of a low-wage, bargain-basement economy. That is not the vision of a party for working people.