Finance (No. 3) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:10 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 9:10 pm, 12th November 2018

It is always a pleasure to follow Eddie Hughes, although I sometimes wonder how one can follow that. It was certainly very interesting.

I want to touch on a point made by Kevin Hollinrake. I congratulate him on receiving Royal Assent for his private Member’s Bill. It was good to see in the Red Book that the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 is moving forward. He spoke at length about business; I know he is a doughty champion for that. He would do well to look at what the SNP Government in Scotland have done in lifting 100,000 small businesses out of business rates since 2008. They have been doing that for 10 years, so the Scottish Conservatives can come north on occasion to see that.

I rise to support the reasoned amendment in the names of my right hon. Friend Ian Blackford and other hon. Friends from the Scottish National party. As the Bill derives from the Chancellor’s recent Budget, I want to make a couple of comments more widely about the Budget—and what was missing from it—before moving on to talk specifically about clause 5.

One minor benefit of not being able to speak in the Budget debate was that I had time during the weekend that followed to take the temperature of my constituents concerning the Budget. The general feeling on Shettleston Road is that austerity is far from over, and that is something that my hon. Friends and I hear week in, week out at our Friday surgeries. The Budget in fact prolongs austerity. The Prime Minister said that austerity was coming to an end, but the Budget failed every single test when it comes to the claim that the end of austerity is now in sight.

For example, there were no transitional measures to support the WASPI women, such as Anne Dalziel from Garrowhill. Anne received no notice from the DWP about the changes to her state pension age and is one of the many women in this country who have been shafted time and again by the British Government. To give an example of just how arbitrary the changes are, Anne has friends who were also born in 1953 and they received their state pension in 2016, but because Anne was born on 23rd December, her pension age was deferred three years to 2019. There were no measures in the Budget to help Anne Dalziel, and it is little wonder that the WASPI women in the Gallery staged their protest in the way they did. They have wholehearted support on these Benches.

Likewise, there were no measures in the Budget to halt and fix the roll-out of universal credit, which is due to be unleased on my constituency next month and will undoubtedly cause social and financial misery just in time for Christmas. The amazing work that has been done by my hon. Friend Drew Hendry on Inverness, where universal credit has already been rolled out, shows the deep damage it has caused. The fact that the Government will not listen to my hon. Friends and halt the roll-out of universal credit in Glasgow, especially at Christmas, shows how mean they are.