The Economy and Work

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Economy), Deputy Leader, Scottish National Party 1:49 pm, 26th May 2016

I was not aware that my hon. Friend was with Mr Lewis, but what he has said does not surprise me in the slightest. For all the talk of an increase in the minimum wage, I think that anyone on the progressive side of politics understands that a real living wage will be undermined by the Government’s cuts to in-work benefits and tax credit.

The Government are failing in respect of almost every key economic indicator. They have missed nearly every target that they have set themselves. The numbers—not the rhetoric—demonstrate beyond doubt that their claim to economic credibility is in tatters. We are asking for a genuine, comprehensive plan for trade, exports, innovation and productivity, and a genuinely rebalanced and fair economy. The Chancellor said that trade and exports would underpin his strategy for growth, but the UK current account deficit now stands at a record £96 billion, its highest ever cash level. The Chancellor promised a doubling of exports to £1 trillion by the end of the year, but exports fell last year to £511 billion. They are going in the wrong direction. On innovation, we continue to compare poorly with our competitors, and the Chancellor’s decision to change innovation grants to loans sends the wrong signals.