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I rise primarily to raise on behalf of my constituents a glaring injustice: the lack of funds for rebuilding New Ferry. Members will remember the horrific explosion in my town in March 2017. To date, the Government have not committed anything like the funds they have handed over to Salisbury, or anything like the funds they have handed over to Belfast for the destroyed Primark. The people of New Ferry are bitterly angry, and their voice must be heard by Ministers on the Treasury Bench.
I listened to what Conservative Members said about tax cuts, and I recognise what is happening. This is just what the American Republicans do. They want big tax cuts for the wealthy, so they choose some so-called middle class profession and, as part of their package of big tax cuts for the wealthy, put in a nugatory amount for those who seem to be in the middle. They persuade the nation that we should have tax cuts on that basis, and they hide what they are doing—handing back huge amounts to the already wealthy—by dressing it up as money for the middle class.
In this Budget we are talking about pennies a week for people on average incomes, and when that is seen alongside the impact of universal credit, everything gets worse for people in the middle. It is not good enough to say that we cannot do better on universal credit when we are giving away £2.8 billion in one year, 84% of which goes to the top half of the distribution, with 34% of that going to the top 10%. That is a regressive measure, and if we believe in progressive politics, we should stand against it and say that what we need is a truly progressive tax system and proper funding for our public services.