Finance (No. 3) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:06 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Karen Lee Karen Lee Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Fire) 8:06 pm, 12th November 2018

Living standards in this country are a national disgrace. The “little extras” Budget did nothing to address society’s systemic issues and continued to prioritise the few over the many. Perhaps the Minister does not appreciate that the future is not brighter if you are standing in a queue at a food bank.

After eight long years of austerity, our public services are deprived of proper funding. Our fire service, NHS, police service and education services are all at breaking point, and “little extras” are simply not enough. While the taxation system continues as it is, with Conservative policies only tinkering around the edges, we will not see a substantial redress of economic inequality in this country. Put simply, the top 10% of the population own 44% of the nation’s wealth. Who does this country’s economy work for? Some in society have suffered eight years of austerity, and some have not. If the Government’s policies are benefiting the few more than they are benefiting the many, we have a systematic issue at the heart of society. Our economic system resembles what the economist Piketty would describe as “useless for growth”. It perpetuates further inequality over time and creates low social mobility, ingraining and preserving the status quo. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, widening economic inequality.

Labour has a different outlook that sees real value in working people and offers them a fair deal by not raising taxes for 95% of workers but instead fairly raising taxes for the 5% who prosper the greatest in society. It acknowledges corporations’ role in society and expects them to pay their fair share, raising an estimated £19.4 billion for the public purse. It is not afraid of tackling the very wealthiest and commits to a comprehensive anti-tax avoidance plan—a plan that will work for those who are prepared to pay their fair share of tax and a society that will reap its benefits. This funding will be distributed to all the areas that all of society will benefit from: a properly funded NHS, free university education, a national education system, and a national transformation fund. Labour will rebuild Britain and make this Government’s destructive austerity programme an ideological choice of the past. This is how we will radically change society; this is how we will end austerity; and this is how the Labour party, when—not if—we are in government, will offer a fair deal for everybody in our society.