Matthew Hancock: Does the right hon. Gentleman think that there is no money left, or does he no longer agree with himself?
Matthew Hancock: May I tell the Prime Minister how pleased my constituents were when he found £50 million to help further education colleges that were promised funding but left high and dry by the previous Administration? Will he ensure that the application for an FE college in Haverhill in my constituency is given the attention it deserves, so that Haverhill can get the FE college that it is promised?
Matthew Hancock: What plans he has to take account of local public opinion in determining the location of onshore wind farms.
Matthew Hancock: I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware of the proposal to build a wind farm near to Stoke by Clare in my constituency, which is in the area of the country that was most often painted by John Constable? What powers will local people have to decide whether that would be appropriate?
Matthew Hancock: My right hon. Friend will be aware of the hard work that the many inspirational teachers in West Suffolk do to wade through some of the bureaucracy with which they have to deal. Does he agree that it is irresponsible to raise hopes of new schools when no sustainable funding is available?
Matthew Hancock: Does not the Minister, like me, find it a bit rich that Opposition Members look only at part of the Budget, not the whole, after 13 years in which they did not once introduce a distributional table?
Matthew Hancock: rose-
Matthew Hancock: I thank the hon. Lady for a very thoughtful speech. Will she join me in welcoming the new Government's proposal to increase the number of apprenticeships, because she mentioned that earlier?
Matthew Hancock: The right hon. Gentleman has just admitted that since 1997, in respect of avoidance or evasion of corporation tax, the tax gap was reduced by only £3 billion. Does he not agree, then, that it is wrong to go around the country telling people that the entire deficit could be dealt with if we just got to grips with this one issue? It is, of course, important to get to grips with it, but it will...
Matthew Hancock: Does the hon. Gentleman regret his party's position before the last election, which was that we should not have a banking levy unless everywhere else in the world signed up to it? Does he therefore applaud the current Government's leadership in unilaterally putting forward a bank levy?
Matthew Hancock: Does the hon. Gentleman have any evidence to suggest that the reduction in corporation tax on banks would offset the £2.5 billion to be raised by the bank levy?
Matthew Hancock: Can the hon. Gentleman supply any evidence that the corporation tax cut is larger than the £2.5 billion to be raised by the bank levy, because none of the things that he read out was evidence of that?
Matthew Hancock: I thank the hon. Gentleman for inviting me to intervene. He has just admitted something that the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Chris Leslie) could not deny, but did not admit. After this Budget, because of the banking levy, the banks will be paying more tax relative to other sectors of the economy, and that is stated on page 26 of the Red Book. I am very grateful for that important admission.
Matthew Hancock: The right hon. Gentleman may have misheard my earlier comment. Can he be surprised about the Chancellor's comments when page 101 of the Red Book states that the bank levy raises £2.5 billion and the corporation tax cut in 2013-14 will cost £700 million? It is therefore no surprise that the bank levy raises more than the cut in corporation tax to the banks. That is precisely the point that I...
Matthew Hancock: I shall keep this contribution extremely brief, given the hour. I was surprised by some of the arguments made by Opposition Members. I am not all that surprised that the right hon. Member for East Ham (Stephen Timms), the shadow Minister, does not support amendment 21, which was moved by the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Chris Leslie), not least because before the election he said we...
Matthew Hancock: Given that sustainable employment can be supported only by dealing with the deficit, was the Minister grateful for the support of the shadow Chancellor, who said at lunchtime on the subject of raising VAT: "I don't have a philosophical problem with that"?
Matthew Hancock: Does my hon. Friend remember a distributional table ever being placed in a Budget under the Labour Government?
Matthew Hancock: Is the Minister aware that one tax expert has described the "Gauke doctrine" as one of the most important changes in improving the competitiveness of our tax system-so long as it is delivered properly? Will he assure me that the Government will work to ensure that what has been put down on paper in the Budget will be delivered properly over this Parliament?
Matthew Hancock: Is not one explanation the idea that the OBR came forward with growth forecasts that were reasonable and at least had a hope of being accurate rather than the hopelessly over-optimistic growth forecasts put in place by the previous Government?
Matthew Hancock: It is an honour to follow the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr Byrne). Having spoken a couple of times in the debates on this Bill as it has passed through the House, I wanted today to consider the economic evidence. We have heard an awful lot about the importance of what we need to do, and we have heard an awful lot from the Labour party complaining about every measure put...