Economic Update Debate

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Department: HM Treasury

Economic Update

Sir Edward Leigh Excerpts
Wednesday 8th July 2020

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury
Rishi Sunak - Hansard

When it comes to capital investment, it is important to put in context what our existing budgets were for this year. I announced £88 billion at the Budget for this year. That represents a 20% increase on our capital investment plans in the previous year and, as a percentage of GDP, the highest amount that we have invested in capital since the ’70s. The starting base level for our capital investment is already exceptionally high. We have brought £5 billion of additional projects forward into this year, but, taken in the round, it will be the most we have ever spent on capital in real terms for a very, very long time.

Sir Edward Leigh Portrait Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con) - Hansard

Will this young, vigorous Chancellor not be too cruel to an old Thatcherite for making this deeply unfashionable point? There are no good, long-term subsidised jobs. As we saw with the new Labour make-work jobs and with furlough, sooner or later they are subject to fraud and market distortion. Will he confirm that the only good, long-term jobs are based on the Government ensuring deregulation, market flexibility and tax cuts on entrepreneurship, with a plan to repay the national debt? Otherwise, as the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne) once said, there will be no more money.

Rishi Sunak - Hansard

I wholeheartedly agree with my right hon. Friend. He is absolutely right: these interventions are specific to the moment that we face now. They provide support for young people at this moment of acute crisis. In the long term, only a dynamic market economy can provide sustainable, long-term employment for young people and beyond. In the medium term, once we get through this crisis, we must return our public finances to a sustainable place.