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Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:24 pm, 12th March 2020

I thank John McDonnell for his opening remarks. I think we can all agree that we need to demonstrate a unity of purpose across the whole House, particularly at this time. As I go through my remarks, I will address some of the points he raised, but I will just say this in candour and with the hand of friendship. When I entered the House in 2010, he had already been here for a number of years. In 2010, the economy was absolutely on its knees. [Interruption.] We had the highest, biggest deficit in peacetime at over 10% of GDP. When George Osborne delivered an emergency Budget, there were siren voices on the Labour Benches—I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was one of them—who said that as a result of those policies we would lose 1 million jobs and the economy would be decimated. That is not what has happened. Ten years on, we have record levels of employment and we are able to make the investments the Chancellor set out yesterday precisely because we took the right decisions in terms of fixing the public finances.