Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Labour, Gedling 3:45 pm, 8th January 2019

I agree with my hon. Friend.

In my relatively brief contribution I just want to ask the Government why there is disagreement about these perfectly reasonable new clauses that ask the Government to review the impact on poverty and inequality. When the Minister responds, will he say whether he refuses to keep under review any of the budgetary measures to be implemented through this Finance Bill to see whether they impact on poverty and inequality? Is that honestly what he is saying? If he is not saying that, why cannot he accept a new clause that is asking him to review this? Who disagrees with looking at whether our Government’s policies are actually tackling poverty and inequality? I find this absolutely incredible.

The Minister can say that this is all rhetorical nonsense, but let us see what he says about how he intends to review the impact of the Government’s policies. For example, he knows that one of the key challenges for Government policy is that, despite what they have tried to do, the number of working people in poverty is increasing. That is a policy challenge. It is not a Labour-Tory thing; it is a policy challenge. If the Minister simply retrenches on this, he is not acting as a Minister of the Crown or a Government Minister responsible for our country; he is acting as a Tory party politician, and that is not what a Minister of the Crown should be doing.