The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:18 pm on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Labour, Gedling 2:18 pm, 24th October 2019

This debate about the economy gives us an opportunity that the shadow Chancellor tried to take and the Chancellor missed, although Sir Michael Fallon started to get to where I think this debate on the economy should be taking us. Let me explain what I mean.

My constituents in all parts of Gedling—in Carlton, Arnold, Netherfield, Colwick and Burton Joyce—say exactly the same as is being said by many people in the country: that the system, as it is currently, does not work for them. They do not believe that the way the system operates is fair and they want something done about it. And what they want from this Parliament is a vision of an economy that is different from the way it functions now.

It is such a big issue that the Financial Times—the doyen of the City of London—recently ran an editorial that itself asks the question,

“How to build a more responsible capitalism”.

It talks about how that can be done. I hope that the new Chair of the Treasury Committee will consider whether his Committee should look at how we are going to deliver a market system that regulates itself in a way that does not allow the excesses that we have seen. This is a quote from a Guardian report on the Panama papers:

“Twitter and Facebook received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions…Aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple…billions in tax refunds by the Isle of Man and Malta to the owners of private jets and luxury yachts.”

None of us, whether we are Labour, Liberal, Scottish nationalist or Conservative—whoever we are—can believe that is right. Where in the Chancellor’s speech did it say that whoever was in government they would tackle that?

It cannot be right that multinational companies are shifting a growing share of profits offshore—£600 billion in the past year alone. Then we turn to the people who HMRC pursues for a few pounds that they owe, or the Benefits Agency pursues for a few pounds that they owe. That is not the sort of society that people want. That is not the sort of society that people think is fair. The Sunday Telegraph, on page 5, laid into the way in which investment funds work. Nigel Woodford—I have never heard of him—