The Economy and Work

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 1:01 pm on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:01 pm, 26th May 2016

I would celebrate it if it was a real living wage and if many of those people were not also suffering from cuts to universal credit.

The reality is that after six years of desperate efforts to impose cuts on our economy, against the best available advice from the economics profession itself, the Chancellor is staring an entirely predictable failure in the face. He started out with such high-flown promises. There was going to be a “march of the makers”, yet today, manufacturing is still smaller than in 2008. There was going to be a rebalancing of the economy, yet today for every three jobs created in London just one is created in the rest of the country. There was going to be a modernised tax service, but, as the National Audit Office pointed out in a damning report earlier this week, the quality of service at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has collapsed in the past year as a result of staffing cuts. He promised increased investment, but cut Government investment spending and now plans to cut it further. In 2010 he forecast the fastest recovery in living memory, but he has delivered the slowest recovery in modern British history.

Let us talk about job creation. The Chancellor and his Government have, perhaps understandably, clung to the job creation figures. Every month they are greeted with rare enthusiasm by Ministers. The reality is that two thirds of those in poverty—nearly 9 million people—are in work. [Interruption.]