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Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart Conservative, Brentwood and Ongar 6:30 pm, 19th November 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. I believe that the answer to his question is none, but I stand to be corrected.

Alongside the Budget, we heard the remarkable news last week that wage growth is at its highest level for a decade. That welcome return to growth benefits people in my constituency and around the country. In addition, we have the best employment figures in my lifetime. Sometimes, we are given the impression that such figures are idle statistics that mean nothing—that the Government are just chirruping on about that silly little thing, employment—but employment is not a marginal thing. Employment is what gives our constituents the opportunity to work, to support their families, to play their part in society and to have independence and choice. It is the greatest gift that the economy can bestow.

I always enjoy Finance Bill debates, because I am a genuine fan of Peter Dowd. I assure Hansard that I am not being sarcastic when I say that I genuinely enjoy his company and his speeches. Over the years we have shared in the House, we have enjoyed some debates on the Beatles, on Plutarch and on sausages. Today, I shall add to that list by picking him up on voodoo economics.

The hon. Gentleman has accused us of voodoo economics when it comes to reducing corporation tax and thus bringing greater revenue into the Exchequer. I encourage him, in the spirit of friendship, to go and talk to some of the businesses that have onshored to the UK to take advantage of our extraordinarily competitive corporation tax rates. That is why people are coming to this country to do business. It is why they are choosing to raise revenue here and pay taxes here. That is good for them, it is good for our economy and it is good for the people who use our public services. I respectfully suggest that if anyone wants an example of voodoo economics, they should look to the attempt to dig up the dead and rotting corpse of socialism, reinvigorate it with magic spells and have it wandering the streets, looking to bring rack and ruin. We find real voodoo economics in the suggestion that it will cost nothing to renationalise a range of utilities and services. As my hon. Friend Leo Docherty has pointed out, it will not cost nothing; it will cost at least £176 billion. Contrary to what the shadow Chancellor says, it will not pay for itself. It will be paid for by British taxpayers.