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David Cameron: Response to Budget statement

So that's it. Labour's big idea is a stamp duty cut on homes worth less than £250,000.

Wherever did they get that one from? That's been Tory policy for the three years. He came in as Chancellor copying our Inheritance Tax Cut.

He leaves as Chancellor copying our stamp duty cut.

The only new ideas in British politics are coming from this side of the House.

The only things Labour bring are debt, waste and taxes.

And here's a first.

The centrepiece of this Budget, the stamp duty cut, has already been torpedoed by a Treasury Minister.

This is what the Economic Secretary said about this policy:

"Raising stamp duty...threshold to £250,000 would not be an effective use of public money".

First they denounce it, then they embrace it, and that's not all.

We just heard, remember our tax plans for super strength cider, the chancellor spokesman said, when we announced it, said that was illegal, it's now official government policy. Remember our proposal for 10,000 extra university places, well the higher education minister, the honourable member for Tottenham said, I don't know if he's in his place today, oh, he's there, this is what he said "it is clear, as has been demonstrated in the House today, that this fatuous proposal of extra places is elitist", that's what they said about it.

Once again they've been caught out taking the public for fools.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, now we know: Labour have made a complete mess of the British economy and they are doing nothing to clean it up.

One figure stands out above any other that stands out above all others - they have doubled the national debt, and on these figures they're going to double it again.

In this, an election year, they are borrowing £167 billion.

We're meant to be impressed that it's turned out a few billion lower than the last disastrous forecast...

...but it is still, and honourable members should be ashamed of this, it is more than every single previous Labour Government has borrowed - put together.

Like every Labour government before them they've run out of money...

...and they're leaving it to the next Conservative government to clean up the mess.

Today the Chancellor had his last chance to do the right thing for the country.

He totally failed. 

The taxes for hire are on their way out of the chamber

They're just going to carry on spending, carry on borrowing and carry on failing.

The biggest risk to our recovery is five more years of this Prime Minister.

Five more years of falling confidence. 

Five more years of bloat and debt and taxes. 

Five more years of Britain closed for business.

Most of the cabinet are looking at their Blackberrys, they can't think of a good reason why the country should have another five more years of this Prime Minister - so let's have an election and put them out of their misery.  

<h2>THE MESS</h2>

Let's look in detail at the appalling mess that the Prime Minister and Baldemort seem to find so funny.

Here are some of the things they didn't tell us in the Budget.

They boast about trade.

Get him an espresso or they'll be in trouble

They didn't tell us that on page 171 of the Red Book it says the trade deficit has risen by £7 billion.

They told us about investment.

They didn't say that on page 169 of the Red Book it says business investment is falling by 5% this year.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, almost everything they've told us about the economy has turned out to be untrue.

They told us they would be prudent but the Chancellor has just said they will be borrowing £734 billion over the next six years, giving us to a national debt of £1.3 trillion.

They have confirmed in the red book, that the deficit this year at 11.8% of GDP is the worst in the OECD except for Ireland, that's what this Labour government has left us with.

They talk about education, and the importance of education, but next year they're spending more on debt interest than they are on educating our children.

They told us that they had abolished boom and bust, but figures show they gave us the deepest recession since the war. 

The figures show that we lost 6.2 per cent of our GDP in total.

The Chancellor endlessly boasted about the action they had taken, yes I'll say it again because you should be ashamed of it. Endlessly talking about their brilliant judgements, yet we were the first into recession and the last out of recession, endlessly talking about the great judgements, about how well prepared we were, we went in with the biggest budget deficit and came out with the largest budget deficit.

And of course they promised us, real help now, yet more businesses went bust in this recession than any other, and more people went bankrupt under Labour than ever before in our History.

And what about all those schemes that they launched with great fanfare, how many people did they help? 
Let's take the Mortgage Support Scheme - that was announced in December 2008.

They said "this is real help for homeowners".

So how many homeowners did it help?

Fifteen.

That scheme cost £66,000 per household helped.

Or to put it in currency the Cabinet would understand - that's about thirteen days of Geoff Hoon's consultancy fees.

Now they tell us that unemployment is low compared to other recessions.

One in four adults of working age in our country are not in work.

They talked about European comparisons, but we've got more young people unemployed than anywhere else in Europe.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, to be fair to the Prime Minister, there is one thing the Prime Minister got right.
It's when he told an audience of bankers:

"What you as the City of London have done for financial services, we as a government intend to do for the economy as a whole."

That's a pledge he's met in full.

<h2>1997 COMPARISON</h2>

Thirteen years on from 1997, we can now see what's happened.

In 1997, debt was £350 billion.

Now it's getting on for £860 billion.

In 1997 the deficit was £6 billion.

That's what you inherited, a £6bn deficit.

Today it is £167 billion.

In 1997 we were ranked 7th in the world for the competitiveness.

Now we are 13th.

We were 4th in the world for tax and regulation.

You want to know what we're going to do, we're going to get us back to 4th in the world

Glad to see the honourable member for Brent North East slept during the Chancellors speech and he's woken up for my reply, do you know where we are today?

From being fourth in the world for tax and regulation we are now 84th and 86th. 

We've gone from the top of the Premier League to the bottom of the Conference in 13 wasted years - and it's time to sack the manager.

No wonder Match of the Day didn't want him.

<h2>FAILURE TO CLEAN UP</h2>

So that's the mess, what about their plans to clear it up?

Pitiful.

The big argument in British politics today is this:

They say:

Don't do anything before the election, let's just sit tight and keep our fingers crossed.

We say: we need real action to get our economy moving - and urgently.

We need a credible plan to deal with Britain's record debts, starting now.

And we need to show the world that we are back open for business.

<h2>CREDIBLE PLAN</h2>

Let's start with the debts.

The Chancellor repeated his hope to halve the deficit by 2014.

Let's be clear about what this means.

It means in four years' time we'll have a deficit almost as big as when Denis Healey went to the IMF in the 1970s.

We're not the only ones who think this is completely inadequate.

The CBI has said: "Current plans to halve the deficit over four years are too little, too late."

The OECD has said "...more ambitious fiscal plans ... would strengthen the recovery."

And the European Commission says that the Government's plans are "not sufficiently ambitious".

The Prime Minister used to bang on about how we needed a "global early warning system".  Do we all remember that one?

How many more warnings does he need?

The lights are flashing and the alarm bells are ringing - but he's ignoring them and doing nothing for the country.

<h2>DELAY</h2>

A credible plan also requires action now - instead we got just delay.

The risk to recovery is not in dealing with the deficit now, it's in not dealing with the deficit now.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are having a good chat, probably discussing what sort of charging fees they can give after the next election, they should listen.

Every family knows that when your debts mount up, you need to start paying them off or things will only get worse.

It's time for government to learn the same lessons.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor faced a choice - between bold action in an election year or playing politics.

Once again, they chose politics.

This Prime Minister will never get a medal for courage, though most members of his Cabinet get mentioned in dispatches.

<h2>DOUBLE DEALING</h2>

A credible plan also requires honesty - instead we got double dealing.

All those figures they've told us about debt are based on their growth forecasts.

Look at their record of predicting growth.

In 2008 they said we'd grow by two per cent.

In fact the economy grew by 0.5 per cent.

In 2009 they predicted decline of 3.5 per cent.

In fact we shrank by 5 per cent.

Now they say that the economy will grow by [3.25] per cent, the independent experts say 2.1%.
The Chancellor told us, standing there at the dispatch box, his forecasts were the same as the Bank of England, they're not, the Bank of England is forecasting 3.1% this year and 3% next year, with his forecast at 3.5 %, you used to have to go through the fine print to find before you found out the rubbish in the budget, this time it came straight from the dispatch box.

Having given us the lowest decade for economic growth since the Second World War they're now predicting one of the highest.

They've given us the biggest bust in British history.

Now they're forecasting almost a permanent boom.

Why on earth should anyone believe them? 

What we need is a proper, independent Office of Budget Responsibility, that we will set up, to set independent forecasts and keep the Chancellor honest.

We also need to get Britain back open to business, and again this budget completely fails the test.

<h2>OPEN FOR BUSINESS</h2>

The Chancellor spent half an hour talking about helping business, but the fact is he is raising £19 billion of extra taxes, many of them charged on business. Why? Because they flunked the difficult decisions on spending, they are raising tax after tax after tax.

The fuel duty rise.

The broadband tax.

New taxes on small businesses.

He talked about a cut, but he didn't talk about what happens on April 5th, the revaluation comes in, the end of transitional relief comes in, hitting every small business in the country.

And biggest of all, the rise in national insurance - which is a tax on every job in the country.

They want to tax your car, your phone, your business, your jobs.

These are the ticking tax bombshells timed to go off the day after the election and that will destroy our recovery.

Instead of more waste, more spending, more taxes, what this Budget needed to do is ease the burden on our families and businesses and let enterprise flourish.

That's what a Conservative Government will bring.

Let's freeze in council tax. No tax on new jobs for new businesses. Lower corporation tax rates and the small business tax. Radical school and welfare reform.

That would be real action to get our economy moving.

<h2>CONCLUSION</h2>

The Prime Minister is going around telling everyone 'stick with me, stick with what you know'.

That's the problem: the whole country is stuck with him.

Our economy is stuck.  Business is stuck.  Nothing is moving.

And there is the arrogance of it.

"Stick with me." 

Why? 

"Because I doubled the debt, I put up the taxes, wrecked the economy, and mortgaged your children's future". 

It's like the Captain of the Titanic saying 'let me command the lifeboats.'

It's like Robert Maxwell saying 'let me re-invest your pension.'

It's like Richard Nixon saying 'I'm the man to clean up politics.'

Does the Prime Minister really expect the British people to turn around and say "thank you" for nearly bankrupting the economy?

Find me the small business owner who would wake up to a Labour victory and say 'thank god we've got five more years of this Prime Minister's red tape and taxes.'

Find me the family who'd think 'great, national insurance increases are coming and now we'll be better off.'

Find me the international business that would think yes, now's the time to invest in Britain.'

No one has yet thought of a question to which the answer is five more years of this Prime Minister. 
That's because there isn't one.

We need an unleashing of enterprise across the nation.

We need a plan to boost employment through radical welfare and school reform.

It is time we had a radical change of direction.

Britain needs a Conservative government to clean up the mess made by this Labour Government and stop another five years of debt, of waste, of taxes.

Britain doesn't need this Prime Minister and this Chancellor, it needs new energy, leadership and values to get this country moving again.

That's the argument we'll take to the country the moment this man runs out of time and calls this election.

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