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The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 4:50 pm, 24th October 2019

This has been an interesting debate, in which strong views have been expressed by 41 Back Benchers.

Let us look at the UK economy. This year we have seen more people in work than ever before, with more women in work than ever before. The number of workless households is down by more than 1 million since 2010, and there are 200,000 more businesses than last year. Wages have grown at their fastest rate in 11 years and there has been the biggest ever increase in the national living wage. We are investing in the skills of the future, with more than 800,000 people participating in an apprenticeship in England in the last full academic year.

We have every reason to believe in our ability to succeed. We are the world’s fifth biggest economy and the ninth biggest manufacturer. We speak the world’s international business language. We have the best contract law and one of the most trusted judicial systems in the world. We have the most creative and innovative financial services sector anywhere, and three of the top 10 universities in the world. For the seventh year in a row, we have the most powerful capital city on earth.

But let us look at what Labour has on offer. Labour has proposed a punitive new tax every two months since Corbyn took office. Jeremy Corbyn’s party—