The Economy and Work

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Secretary of State 1:23 pm, 26th May 2016

An 11% budget deficit means the debt is added to every year. Until the deficit comes right down, we cannot get the debt down. That is what we are doing and why we want to avoid an 11% budget deficit.

Another sign of how the Labour party is changing is the motion it is asking us to vote on tonight. It contains an intriguing clause that relates to Scotland. It states that they

“regret the refusal of the Scottish Government to use its new tax powers to put an end to austerity in Scotland”.

That is code for Labour wanting to put up taxes in Scotland. If it does not want the Scottish Government to use their tax powers to put up taxes to put an end to austerity in Scotland, how does it propose to do it? Labour fought the election in Scotland proposing a 1p increase in the basic rate of income tax. That was the Scottish Labour party’s policy, which was so successful in that election. Here, the UK Labour party is putting that into a parliamentary motion and asking the Labour party to vote on it tonight. We have a report from the Labour party saying that it is irrelevant to working people; the head of policy wants to nationalise land and return to a three-day week; and the parliamentary Labour party will be voting tonight to increase the basic rate of income tax. That is the state of the Labour party today.