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Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:50 pm, 12th March 2020

That is an extremely important point. For those of us who remember the social fund, it was a resource that many of our constituents fell back on in times of need. It did give them the support they needed, and in many ways it was administered relatively well. It got resources to the people with needs, and it did so with minimal costs.

The Government urgently need to provide the certainty that the public deserve on all these matters. Our worry is that, because this package does not at the moment appear to be comprehensive, it ultimately will not make us all safer, and it may put people at risk, as especially those in low-income groups may have to make the very difficult choice, as I have said, between health and hardship.

Although it has been reported that there has been some communication between Finance Ministers internationally, it is certainly not clear whether it is of the scale or depth of co-ordination in, for example, the crisis in 2007-08. As a result, whatever statements have been made have not had the effect of steadying markets or reassuring people more generally that, basically, there is an internationally agreed strategy to address the economic consequences of this emergency.