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Finance Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Constitutional Convention (No. 2) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 21st July 2015.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:49 pm, 21st July 2015

The hon. Gentleman raises a very important point. When we debated tax credits before the Budget, I discussed, I believe with Caroline Lucas, the way in which, in the last recession, tax credits assisted people to remain in work—to accept a reduction in hours, knowing that they would have the safety net of tax credits to help them through that difficult time. More research is needed; the Government should have looked at the way in which tax credits have assisted people. There is a real danger in removing tax credit support from people without having already embedded into the economy the high-skilled, high-paid jobs that we all agree are needed. If our economy had been transformed—if the Government had brought forward proposals that meant that vastly larger numbers of people were in higher-paid work—there would be no need for tax credits and it would be possible to move to a system where we could phase out or decrease the support.

A modern economy needs a modern infrastructure, but the Government have pulled the plug on electrification of the railways. They have pulled the rug out from under investment in renewable energy and flunked the decision on airports. I was interested to see that the Home Secretary was very willing to take on Boris Johnson when it came to water cannons. The least the Chancellor could have done was to take on the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip when it came to the decision on airports. It would have been good to see this Finance Bill at least start that process.