William Bain: Has the Secretary of State seen this week’s report by Open Europe, which indicates that unless rights at work in this country were to be completely destroyed, leaving the European Union would cause permanent damage to the British economy? Is not the real risk to businesses and workers at the next election the United Kingdom Independence party-Tory alliance that would destroy our place...
William Bain: What steps he is taking to improve access to Government procurement by small and medium-sized enterprises.
William Bain: The Minister omitted to say in his answer that nine out of 17 Departments spent less with SMEs in 2013-14 than they did in 2012-13. With just 10% of Government contracts going to small businesses, why have this Government been so poor when it comes to procurement from our SME sector?
William Bain: To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with cabinet colleagues on implementation of the UK's domestic and international legal obligations on human rights.
William Bain: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many individuals and companies have been prosecuted for tax evasion in each of the last five financial years.
William Bain: Does my hon. Friend share my astonishment, and that of other Labour colleagues and indeed the whole country, that to try to persuade us people were better off the Chancellor used a metric that deals only with mean incomes—skewed to people at the very top of the income scale—and includes universities, which are not of course households?
William Bain: This was the Chancellor’s sixth Budget, and after a Parliament of unparalleled failure on living standards not seen in decades, today was his final chance to chart a fairer course for the British people. He failed that test. He failed it because the values by which he has conducted economic and fiscal policy for the past five years are not the values that build an economy where we have...
William Bain: I gently point out to the hon. Gentleman that the emergency Budget and the spending review adopted in autumn 2010 led to three years of hardly any growth at all in the economy, a dramatic fall in tax revenues, the deficit having not fallen or been wiped out as the Chancellor had promised, and debts doubling over the course of this Parliament. That was the reason the economy has underperformed...
William Bain: When she plans to make a progress report on the Government’s economic pact for Northern Ireland.
William Bain: With one in six people in Northern Ireland on low pay and intergenerational poverty remaining stubbornly high, should not the Government be getting a move on to raise the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour and get as many people as possible on to the living wage to make this a recovery in living standards for all the people of Northern Ireland?
William Bain: For hard-pressed taxpayers, the real test of whether the Government are committed to cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance will be whether this month’s Finance Bill contains legal penalties for breach of the general anti-abuse rule. Will the Financial Secretary tell us whether those will feature in the Finance Bill—yes or no?
William Bain: It has been a pleasure to listen to the whole of this debate and to make a contribution at this stage. It has been a revealing debate, showing the paucity of the Government and the Conservatives’ argument for re-election. It comes down to this: “We have nearly doubled the debt, we have completely broken our promise on the deficit, we have stripped growth out of the economy for the...
William Bain: Indeed, and as the Institute for Fiscal Studies said this morning, this has been the slowest recovery in living standards in history. I do not think any reasonable Government would expect to be re-elected with that kind of record, and those are the facts. What was extraordinary about the debate was the way in which the Government, having twice moved the goalposts on their deficit target,...
William Bain: rose—
William Bain: I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way at last. The “Charter for Budget Responsibility” states that the Treasury will balance the current budget “by the end of the third year of the rolling, 5-year forecast period.” Can the Minister point out the reference to 2017-18? If he cannot, his figure of £30 billion of cuts is entirely bogus?
William Bain: What assessment he has made of the success of recent diplomatic initiatives relating to peace and security in eastern Ukraine.
William Bain: I am sure that the House will want to take this opportunity to send its condolences to the friends and supporters of Boris Nemtsov, following his horrific murder last weekend. The death toll in eastern Ukraine has reached 6,000 according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also detects an escalation in hostilities, despite the signing of the ceasefire agreement....
William Bain: Does the Secretary of State agree with his fellow Conservative and counterpart in Norway Vidar Helgesen that with the single market needing bold leadership for its completion and with Europe facing its biggest security crisis since the cold war, it would be a disaster for Britain to sleepwalk out of the EU?
William Bain: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff in HM Revenue and Customs have been assigned to deal with (a) pursuing cases of tax evasion and (b) investigating tax avoidance schemes in each of the last four financial years.
William Bain: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will assess the effect on revenues to the Exchequer of buy-to-let landlords (a) being able to offset their bank interest against taxable income, (b) claiming the 10 per cent wear and tear allowance and (c) minimising their exposure to capital gains tax on the sale of properties by use of allowances or reliefs in each of the last three years.