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Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak 7:00 pm, 19th November 2018

My hon. Friend Lyn Brown has just said from a sedentary position that the Government have set the parameters for the scope of amendments in this Bill. The same happened with the previous two Finance Bills that they brought to the House. They have not allow any substantive amendments to the Bill. They will not allow their policies to be tested on the Floor of the House, because those policies have been found wanting in terms of redistribution of wealth from the best off in our society to the poorest. It is actually the poorest who pay 42% of their income, while the richest pay just 34%. How is that fair?

This Budget has done nothing to support the poorest people. After raising VAT to 20%, the Government have doubled insurance tax and are raising council tax across the country by 5% a year, hitting the poorest in our society and hitting those who can afford it the least. They are also hitting those who are homeowners with universal credit. We have heard that the Government aspire to support homeowners, so why is it that, under universal credit, 74% of people who lose out are actually homeowners? They have seen their clawback of income nearly doubling from 39% under the Labour Government to 63% under this Government, and it is going up to 75% for taxpayers.

If the Government disagree with our analysis that this Budget is not helping people in poverty and that it is actually entrenching the serious divides and the serious destitution and poverty within our society, they should prove their case by supporting our amendment for an equalities impact assessment. But they have form on this. I have been calling for an equalities impact assessment of universal credit changes since 2015 and since I first came to this House, and it has been refused. They are now refusing to hold one in this Budget. Anyone would think that this Government had something to hide. I know from people around my constituency, which is relatively affluent, that it is not just the poorest people who are appalled at the level of food bank use, the level of homelessness and the level of evictions that are being inflicted on the poorest people in our society. People across my constituency are writing to me, imploring me to stand up for the poorest, because otherwise we are poorer as a society.