Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:20 am on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:20 am, 9th July 2020

The hon. Gentleman is concerned that the Chancellor is peeved, but as his own happy countenance looks down upon us, we know that he himself, in his cheerful, jolly and bonhomous way, would never be peeved—it is hard to think of a less peevish person.

The hon. Gentleman talks about the furlough scheme, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor is absolutely right: the furlough scheme cannot go on forever. It has been an amazing effort by the taxpayer to ensure that the structure of the economy is maintained and, therefore, that we can have a V-shaped recovery. However, the Government—the taxpayer—cannot afford indefinitely to provide this level of support. Therefore, October seems to me to be about the right date.

The hon. Gentleman complains that he does not like the answer I gave him on the fiscal settlement for Scotland, but I have good news for him: the figure I gave him last week is lower than the figure I shall give him this week. Owing to the strength of the United Kingdom, the Barnett consequentials have led to £4.6 billion being available to be spent in Scotland. That shows the success of the economic management of the United Kingdom over 10 years of coalition and Conservative Government. The ability to answer the challenges of 2008 and to ensure that the public sector finances got back into proper shape so that we could afford to deal with a fundamentally different crisis, which required a different response and the expenditure of taxpayers’ money, is a tribute to the strength of the United Kingdom. Where would Scotland be had it gone for independence in 2014, with its revenue dependent on the oil price, which has subsequently collapsed? It would be bankrupt. The hon. Gentleman calls for bankruptcy; Her Majesty’s Government have provided solvency and support for the people of the whole United Kingdom.

In regard to restoration and renewal, we will debate that next week.