Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay 3:30 pm, 8th January 2019

Absolutely. We could spend a long time analysing the decision to flog the gold reserves. It was the same Chancellor who claimed to have abolished boom and bust—to be fair, he was right: he managed to end the boom at the end of his term, although he did very little to take us away from the bust. The economic cycle is still there, and those who pretended it did not exist were deluding themselves. They kept betting that things would always go up and then things started to go down.

The other thing that has made a difference in Torbay, whose economy has many jobs in the service sector, the hospitality industry and the care sector, is the introduction of the national living wage, because of which many people have had a salary increase. It is easy for an Opposition to pledge all sorts of things, but it is very different to actually deliver in government an income rise for the lowest earners. More people are being paid more than the national living wage—local employers in Torbay are paying beyond that level to attract the staff they need, given the fall in unemployment. We cannot say that the Government’s fiscal policies have had nothing to do with that; they have made a positive difference to the lives of people in my community and others across the UK.