Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:13 pm on 11th April 2016.

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Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw 10:13 pm, 11th April 2016

Nothing is wrong with hairdressing, but it is wrong to have 80,000 apprentices who do not go into that industry because there are no vacancies. Instead, we should be spending money in areas where we need apprenticeships, such as manufacturing, and craft or building skills. That is more complex and difficult, and so we and the Government ducked it. That is why productivity fails to grow.

The third area is home ownership. That was regarded—this is an accurate historical comment—as the thing most associated with Margaret Thatcher, and it was fundamental to winning over Labour voters who shifted for a period of time and began voting Tory, particularly in ’79 and ’83, thanks to the concept that the Tory party was the party of home ownership. That concept has been destroyed over the past six years, and we should be taking up that mantle. We are in favour of home ownership. Of course young people in my area want rented accommodation temporarily, but their vision and aspiration is to own their own home. I do not know any people who do not want that, and the Government have repeatedly made that vision harder and more distant. We should be hammering home that core Labour value.

Fourthly, this Government have repeatedly accused the previous Labour Government of mortgaging the future and loading debt on to future generations, but this Chancellor, more than any other in British peacetime history, has loaded up the national debt, with his Back Benchers happily confusing deficit and debt every time it is debated. Under him, the national debt keeps going up dramatically. This year it is up dramatically, and the projections are for it to do that for the next five years. That is a fundamental economic failure of an unprecedented level by this Government.