There have been 84 exchanges between John Glen and HM Treasury
|Tue 15th September 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||15 interactions (402 words)|
|Fri 11th September 2020||Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill||7 interactions (2,263 words)|
|Wed 9th September 2020||Protection of Jobs and Businesses||5 interactions (1,199 words)|
|Mon 13th July 2020||Stamp Duty Land Tax (Temporary Relief) Bill||13 interactions (1,595 words)|
|Wed 8th July 2020||The Economy||10 interactions (1,257 words)|
|Tue 7th July 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||17 interactions (395 words)|
|Tue 16th June 2020||Exiting the European Union: Financial Services and Markets||8 interactions (2,665 words)|
|Mon 18th May 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||10 interactions (244 words)|
|Mon 27th April 2020||Finance Bill||3 interactions (1,401 words)|
|Tue 24th March 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||28 interactions (841 words)|
|Thu 19th March 2020||Coronavirus: Employment Support (Urgent Question)||96 interactions (3,689 words)|
|Wed 18th March 2020||Bank Branch Closures (Westminster Hall)||6 interactions (1,383 words)|
|Mon 16th March 2020||Budget Resolutions||2 interactions (1,174 words)|
|Mon 24th February 2020||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||3 interactions (158 words)|
|Tue 11th February 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||24 interactions (542 words)|
|Tue 4th February 2020||Lloyds, HBOS and the Cranston Review (Westminster Hall)||9 interactions (1,426 words)|
|Tue 7th January 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||15 interactions (266 words)|
|Thu 24th October 2019||The Economy||7 interactions (4 words)|
|Tue 1st October 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||16 interactions (376 words)|
|Mon 8th July 2019||Precious Metal Markets||9 interactions (1,424 words)|
|Tue 2nd July 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||26 interactions (701 words)|
|Thu 27th June 2019||Co-operative and Mutual Businesses||9 interactions (2,135 words)|
|Wed 19th June 2019||Breathing Space Scheme||31 interactions (2,694 words)|
|Wed 12th June 2019||Local Bank Closures (Westminster Hall)||5 interactions (1,880 words)|
|Thu 6th June 2019||Mortgage Prisoners||15 interactions (1,841 words)|
|Wed 5th June 2019||Funeral Plans: Regulation||4 interactions (1,510 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||35 interactions (678 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||Financial Exclusion: Access to Cash (Westminster Hall)||11 interactions (1,607 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||Debt Collection Letters (Westminster Hall)||8 interactions (1,532 words)|
|Wed 10th April 2019||British Steel Pension Scheme: Transfers (Westminster Hall)||11 interactions (2,783 words)|
|Tue 9th April 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||37 interactions (749 words)|
|Thu 4th April 2019||IR35 Tax Reforms (Westminster Hall)||11 interactions (1,762 words)|
|Tue 19th March 2019||Clydesdale Bank and SMEs (Urgent Question)||40 interactions (2,338 words)|
|Mon 18th March 2019||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||2 interactions (130 words)|
|Wed 13th March 2019||Child Trust Funds (Westminster Hall)||22 interactions (1,704 words)|
|Tue 5th March 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||38 interactions (824 words)|
|Tue 26th February 2019||Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [ Lords ] (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||39 interactions (5,055 words)|
|Mon 25th February 2019||Exiting the EU (Financial Services)||7 interactions (2,512 words)|
|Mon 18th February 2019||Exiting the European Union (Financial Services)||18 interactions (3,260 words)|
|Thu 14th February 2019||Santander Closures and Local Communities (Westminster Hall)||30 interactions (2,178 words)|
|Wed 13th February 2019||Securitisation Regulations 2018||17 interactions (1,765 words)|
|Mon 11th February 2019||Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [Lords]||6 interactions (1,302 words)|
|Thu 7th February 2019||Closure of Santander Banks||16 interactions (1,780 words)|
|Tue 5th February 2019||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||2 interactions (110 words)|
|Thu 31st January 2019||Equitable Life||7 interactions (1,097 words)|
|Tue 29th January 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||15 interactions (225 words)|
|Thu 17th January 2019||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||4 interactions (125 words)|
|Tue 18th December 2018||HBOS Reading: Independent Review (Westminster Hall)||5 interactions (1,593 words)|
|Tue 11th December 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||34 interactions (569 words)|
|Wed 5th December 2018||Affordable Credit for People on Low Incomes (Westminster Hall)||13 interactions (1,282 words)|
|Tue 4th December 2018||ATM Closures (Westminster Hall)||13 interactions (1,611 words)|
|Tue 4th December 2018||Financial Implications for the Next Generation (Westminster Hall)||3 interactions (1,360 words)|
|Tue 20th November 2018||2019 Loan Charge (Westminster Hall)||33 interactions (1,557 words)|
|Mon 12th November 2018||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||3 interactions (86 words)|
|Tue 6th November 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||21 interactions (341 words)|
|Thu 1st November 2018||Leaving the EU: Central Counterparty Clearing||4 interactions (1,580 words)|
|Mon 22nd October 2018||EU Customs Union and Draft Withdrawal Agreement: Cost (Urgent Question)||85 interactions (2,039 words)|
|Tue 9th October 2018||Business Banking Fraud (Westminster Hall)||9 interactions (1,297 words)|
|Tue 9th October 2018||Treasury (Ministerial Corrections)||3 interactions (150 words)|
|Tue 11th September 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||47 interactions (1,017 words)|
|Thu 12th July 2018||Banking Sector Failures (Westminster Hall)||21 interactions (2,718 words)|
|Tue 3rd July 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||29 interactions (490 words)|
|Tue 22nd May 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||42 interactions (751 words)|
|Thu 10th May 2018||Banking Misconduct and the FCA||9 interactions (1,257 words)|
|Tue 1st May 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [Lords]||14 interactions (2,078 words)|
|Thu 26th April 2018||Financial Services (Westminster Hall)||12 interactions (2,465 words)|
|Wed 25th April 2018||Capital Needs of Co-operatives (Westminster Hall)||2 interactions (1,109 words)|
|Tue 24th April 2018||Financial Guidance and Claims Bill [Lords]||22 interactions (1,729 words)|
|Tue 17th April 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||24 interactions (327 words)|
|Wed 14th March 2018||Banking in North Ayrshire||16 interactions (1,432 words)|
|Tue 6th March 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [Lords] (Sixth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||38 interactions (5,299 words)|
|Tue 6th March 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [ Lords ] (Fifth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||15 interactions (819 words)|
|Thu 1st March 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [Lords] (Fourth sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||45 interactions (4,348 words)|
|Tue 27th February 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||23 interactions (545 words)|
|Tue 27th February 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [ Lords ] (First sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||17 interactions (2,447 words)|
|Tue 27th February 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [ Lords ] (Second sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||5 interactions (551 words)|
|Thu 8th February 2018||Community Bank Closures||5 interactions (1,612 words)|
|Wed 7th February 2018||Credit Cards: Cost Regulation (Westminster Hall)||13 interactions (1,585 words)|
|Tue 6th February 2018||Financial Guidance and Claims Bill [ Lords ] (Third sitting) (Public Bill Committees)||59 interactions (4,632 words)|
|Wed 24th January 2018||RBS Closures (Argyll and Bute) (Westminster Hall)||14 interactions (1,645 words)|
|Thu 18th January 2018||RBS Global Restructuring Group and SMEs||20 interactions (1,944 words)|
|Tue 16th January 2018||Oral Answers to Questions||31 interactions (643 words)|
|Mon 15th January 2018||Childcare Vouchers (Westminster Hall)||25 interactions (2,077 words)|
|Thu 11th January 2018||Banks and Communities (Westminster Hall)||9 interactions (1,338 words)|
What fiscal steps his Department is taking to support businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak. 
I thank the Minister for his answer. Will he and the Treasury consider reviewing the rules of the furlough scheme to deal with cases where some small businesses, particularly one in my constituency, missed out on that scheme through administrative error and, in effect, paid staff when that could have been done through the furlough? Will he discuss that with me separately to see whether we could review the rules to deal with that sort of administrative mistake?
This Government’s support for businesses throughout the pandemic has been wide-ranging and delivered at speed. Without the real-time information held by HMRC, it would have taken significantly longer for those grants to reach employers and many more jobs would have been lost. Digital tax administration not only helps HMRC, but cuts costs to businesses, so what is the Treasury doing to build on those successes and make the UK one of the most digitally advanced places in the world to run a business?
I have been told by businesses in my constituency that the hospitality VAT cut was a lifeline to them and helped them to continue. Will my right hon. Friend consider extending that VAT cut beyond January next year, to help those businesses with that recovery?
What fiscal steps he is taking to support retail and high street businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak. 
Break in Debate
The Government will be aware of the significance of the sale of Cambridge-based ARM to American chip maker Nvidia. Will the Government intervene both to secure the headquartering and jobs in Cambridge, but perhaps more significantly, to get an exemption from the American CFIUS—Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States—rules, which give the American Government such leverage? Why on earth would we want to throw away such a bargaining chip in advance of trade negotiations? 
Bounce back loans have been vital to many businesses in Crewe and Nantwich. Although they appreciate the help they have had from the scheme, some have been left waiting too long to access the support. For example, Axis Boats in my constituency waited eight weeks. Until it approached me and we worked together on it, it was not able to get the finance. Will my hon. Friend agree to meet me to discuss examples such as this and to ensure that banks are fully playing their part in getting people access to this support? 
The likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google have seen their profits soar during the pandemic. Using accounting tricks, these companies avoid paying their fair share of tax, which is how Amazon UK’s pre-tax profits have risen by 35%, while its tax bill rose by less than 3%. Will the Chancellor promise to keep the digital services tax and promise that it will be billionaires and the multi- national corporations who will pay for coronavirus spending, not workers and small businesses who have been hit so hard? 
Let me just explain what is happening, because it has been a while since we have had a Friday sitting. When I call the Minister, the debate will continue as long as people who are on the call list are trying to catch my eye. At the end of that, I will then call Anna McMorrin to end that debate. If anybody wishes to withdraw from the call list, please come and see me in the Chair.
The Minister refers to the roundtable we held on mutual banks. One of the astounding figures in that roundtable was the SME lending by mutual banks in other countries throughout the financial crisis. In Japan, there was no reduction in lending to SMEs. In Germany, there was a 20% increase. In Switzerland, there was a 30% increase over that five-year period. In the UK, there was a 25% decrease in lending to SMEs. Does that not show the power of mutual banks as a solution to SME lending?
Does the Minister agree that the issue with mini bonds, and particularly with London Capital and Finance, was the misunderstanding around what was regulated? In that case, the product itself was not regulated, but the marketing of it was. That was very confusing for consumers, many of whom thought they were buying regulated products when they were not. Would it not be more straightforward to simplify and widen the regulatory framework to bring those kinds of products into it?
It is a privilege to follow so many amazing speeches and contributions today. It is also quite unusual to follow the Minister, so I shall get on with it.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Cardiff North (Anna McMorrin) on introducing the Bill. It is clear that she has invested considerable work and time in the process. It is also clear from their contributions today that other colleagues across the House have invested much time in this, too. The importance of environmental considerations are becoming more widely acknowledged, which is welcome. There is no shortage of need—for example, refitting old housing stock and making for a greener future, as the hon. Lady mentioned in her opening speech.
There is also a growing interest in this area from investors, many of whom recognise that not everything that counts can be counted and that the environmental and social impact of their investments should also form part of the reckoning when assessing the returns they make. This creates an opportunity to bring the two together, but sustainable success will only happen if that is done responsibly, and I have reservations as to whether the Bill will do that.
The Bill raises more questions than it answers. The proposal suggests that these green shares are transferable, as is normally the case with shares, but how are they to be priced? How is a fair price to be determined in the absence of a deep and liquid market? What will shareholders have a share of exactly? What rights will these shares carry, and what governance structures will be in place to allow these shareholders to protect their rights? Who gets to govern the investment? The risk of the potential of this being a mini bond has been outlined. Calling something equity does not make it so. There are accounting regulations to be taken into consideration. If debt is bought back at less than its face value, as may happen here, a gain accrues to the issuer while the holder of the loan may nurse a loss that they can reclaim tax against—the Bill may open new ways for mutuals and co-operatives to recapitalise themselves at taxpayers’ expense.
Finally, say that the money is raised and spent. What does success look like? The challenge and opportunity that this form of finance is designed to deal with—the big environmental problems—also has externalities, which by definition cannot be quantified, so how can co-operatives evidence the extra-financial component of the return? There is a risk that capital raises over-promises, which have been described by other Members as greenwashing, which we have to be careful of. I admire the aims of the Bill, but I cannot support it as it currently stands.
It is always a delight to hear from Conservative Members who think that the Opposition should make those kinds of decisions. My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford East (Anneliese Dodds), the shadow Chancellor, has set out very clearly that we will work with Government to design a scheme that can be targeted more at the sectors of our economy that are in trouble, but only Ministers have access to all the data that can best point us to how the scheme could properly work.
Internationally, we are an outlier in our response. We are far from through this crisis, and it would be a mistake to pull away support prematurely. Doing so will damage our economy in the long run and hit world-leading sectors of our economy. We should not make that mistake, and we urge Ministers to work with us and to think again.
It is not just the Labour party that is urging the Government to change course and provide for such a targeted extension; the TUC and the CBI take the same view, and we even hear from The Daily Telegraph that it is far too soon to be ending furlough. Indeed, with every passing day, it is becoming harder to find people—apart from Conservative Members—outside No. 11 Downing Street who believe that the Treasury has got this right.
Aside from the furlough extension, the Minister has again shirked the opportunity to address the gaps in the schemes. The shadow Chancellor has consistently pressed the Chancellor for support for those who, through no fault of their own, have fallen through the gaps of the schemes that were designed to provide employment support—the excluded. Perhaps they are employees who were changing jobs. Perhaps their business has a high street presence that does not qualify for rate relief. Perhaps they have only this year moved from employment to self-employment. Perhaps they are in one of those situations and their partner is in another.
We understand that these are difficult decisions to get right, but the Government have had six months. Today we heard yet again the same reply about what they mean to do for those people. They have done nothing, they are doing nothing and they propose to do precisely nothing. In the years ahead, Conservative Members may discover that many of their electors have longer memories than they would like.
None of these arguments is one to which the Opposition have come lately or had a belated conversion. Quite the contrary; inside and outside this House, we have spent months calling on the Government to fix the shortcomings in their schemes. The shadow Chancellor has been absolutely clear that we are more than willing to work with the Government, with businesses and with trade unions to get this right.
I will not be able to quote every remark, because time is limited, but I will remind the House how often, and for how long, we have urged the Government to get a grip, change course and, above all, bring in a targeted extension of furlough. On 19 April, the shadow Chancellor said:
“Our main concern right now is that a number of those programmes are not fulfilling the promise that has been placed on them”
On 20 April, I said that the date set for the introduction of the scheme still set aside many workers. On 3 May, my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), the shadow Business Secretary, urged a second wave of support, including where necessary an extension of the furlough scheme. On 12 May, the shadow Chancellor warned again of our concerns, and again on 23 May. On 30 June, my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham West and Royton (Jim McMahon), the shadow Transport Secretary, was already drawing attention to how often we have been making this point:
“Labour has consistently called for an extension to the furlough in the most impacted industries”.
On 15 July, the Leader of the Opposition made the same points to the Prime Minister, warning that
“the decision…not to provide sector-specific support to those most at risk could end up costing thousands of jobs.”—[Official Report, 15 July 2020; Vol. 678, c. 1509.]
On 28 July, he added:
“We need a targeted extension of the furlough scheme for the hardest-hit sectors and proper support in place to help those who are unemployed back into work.”
It is not simply the Opposition who believe that a targeted scheme would be better value for money. The Government’s own civil servants required ministerial direction before pursuing the Chancellor’s poorly targeted job retention bonus. The Chancellor himself has accepted that there will be a deadweight cost that might stretch into the billions, yet the amendment in his name today suggests that any deviation from existing Government policy will cause damage to the UK economy. The self- confidence is breathtaking. Does the Chancellor really believe that his Government have got everything right? It is a pity that he has not graced us with his presence today to make that argument himself. The language of infallibility is not helpful to families who fear for their jobs. Persistence may be a virtue; obstinacy in the face of all evidence is not.
The frustration that people in this country feel at the Government’s refusal to listen, understand and engage is growing all the time. The Government amendment is clear that the man in Downing Street knows best. That is not the sense shared by many businesses and workers right across our country. People do not expect handouts, but they do expect fairness. They expect that in their hour of need the Government will not abandon them, their families or their businesses. The Chancellor has shown all summer that he is not prepared to engage with the concerns of businesses in sectors facing the toughest challenges now and in the months to come.
But what matters is not the Chancellor’s persistence in sticking to decisions made in March. What matters most is a secure future for Britain’s firms and Britain’s families. Today we have again seen the Chancellor’s stubbornness holding Britain back—holding back our people and holding back our economy. It is not too late. I urge Conservative Members, especially those who have only recently arrived in this place, to think of the conversations that they must have had, as I have, with local businesses worried about the months ahead and with families fearful for their jobs, and to back this motion.
Under the order of the House today, amendments and new clauses to be moved in Committee of the whole House may now be tabled. Hon. Members should table through the Public Bill Office inbox: PBOHoC@parliament.uk. In order to be eligible for selection, Members should table amendments within the next 10 minutes.
May I congratulate my hon. Friend and his colleagues on the Treasury Bench for what I think has been an exemplary response to an unprecedented crisis? He describes the challenges that still remain in the economy. Many people still face tough times, particularly in the events sector, where businesses remain as yet unopened. Many of the people who work in the events and entertainment sector have not, for various reasons to do with their employment or tax status, been able to take advantage of the schemes we have seen over the past few months. Will my hon. Friend, together with his Treasury colleagues, look at whether there are additional things we can do to support those sectors and those people in the months ahead, because for them times are still tough?
The Minister is making a fair argument in support of the construction and housing sector, but, as he just described, the sector is down by 50% in terms of sales. He will appreciate that the automotive and car sector was down by 97% over the two months of April and May and down by 30% in June. Does he not think that that sector is worthy of support as well?
I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial interests. I am very supportive of these measures. One of the risks to the housing market is the withdrawal by the lenders of high loan-to-value mortgages, especially for first-time buyers. We know that 90% and 95% loans can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that damages the market. Will the Minister do whatever he can to make sure that our banks support high loan-to-value mortgages throughout this time?
Does the Minister agree that this is actually more than a threat for first-time buyers at the moment—it is a reality? First-time buyers are queuing online for websites of lenders in an effort to get the small number of 5% deposit mortgages. Providing more incentive to people who already own their own home or are part of the buy-to-let market effectively crowds out first-time buyers.
I wonder if the Minister could clarify a couple of points. On the 31 March date, we all worry that this will end up being a cliff edge, as the date approaches. Will that be the date of exchange, which is usual, I think, in these matters? Is he not concerned about that cliff edge? For some people, for no reason of their own, late finishing of their property will mean they fall the wrong side, very expensively?
I welcome this opportunity to debate one of the key planks of the Government’s summer economic update presented to this House last week.
As the Opposition, we have repeatedly said that we will work with the Government where we can to support people through a crisis the like of which none of us has ever known. That is exactly why we called on the Chancellor to abandon his one-size-fits-all approach to support for businesses and workers. It is why we called on him to recognise that this is a sectoral crisis that affects some areas of the economy much more than others, and it is why we called on him to come forward with a full back-to-work Budget that would really target Government support to those who need it most.
Instead, what we got was a limited statement that fell far short of grasping the scale of the challenge the country faces at this time of national crisis. We got blanket giveaways, such as the job retention bonus that risks handing billions of pounds to companies for employees who would have been brought back to work anyway. And we got this Bill, which the Government hope will get the housing market back on its feet and support wider economic growth.
Let me be clear from the outset that we do not oppose the principle of additional support for homeowners and buyers, and action to stimulate the housing market. Many people hoping to buy their first home or move home will have been stopped in their tracks by Government advice at the outset of this crisis not to move house—a measure rightly designed to keep people safe. Since then, those wishing to buy or sell have been trapped in a state of limbo for months on end. Many transactions will have collapsed during the hard lockdown period, with significant potential financial losses in conveyancing fees, solicitor fees and other costs involved in buying or selling a home. We understand those difficulties and uncertainties. The impact of the events of the past few months on house prices and on household incomes will mean that many people can no longer afford to move. Their dream home may now have to remain just that—an impossible dream—so it is right that we consider carefully how we can help them, but I do not think the Government have given careful consideration to the Bill or its impact on the housing market.
The Bill existed only in the Chancellor’s mind a week ago. It is a Bill that the Chancellor did not intend to present to the House today; it was supposed to be part of the autumn Budget process later this year. We know that because the Government themselves told us—or at least someone in Government did. We only have to cast an eye back to The Times article last Monday on the Chancellor’s plans for a
“Stamp duty ‘holiday’ to help rebuild economy”,
to be introduced “in the autumn Budget”.
As is so often the case with this Government, whoever briefed the press about the plans had not read the small print. Had they done so, they surely would have realised that announcing a stamp duty holiday three months early would crash the housing market this summer. It was left to others to point out the flaw in the Chancellor’s cunning plan. My hon. Friend the shadow Chancellor was quick to respond, saying:
“Even the possibility of a stamp duty change later this year”
“shut down the housing market in one fell swoop.”
Helen Miller, deputy director and head of tax at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, called the plans “mad.” The former Member for South West Hertfordshire and former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:
“Even 2 days of speculation”
over such plans would be
“unhelpful but 4 months…would be hugely counter-productive.”
My hon. Friend is absolutely right, because, as events in Leicester have shown, the virus has not gone away. Local lockdowns, or, God forbid, another national lockdown in the event of a second peak, would deliver a knockout blow to so many businesses struggling to get back on their feet, and as my hon. Friend has just alluded to, those businesses will continue to struggle unless the public are given the confidence they need to go out and start spending money again.
Since the start of this crisis, the Government have been too slow: too slow to take the threat of covid-19 seriously; too slow to lockdown; and too slow to ramp up testing. Our criticism of the Government’s approach to track and trace is not unreasonable; this is not mission impossible. Today, the German embassy in the UK is tweeting to invite British citizens to download its Corona-Warn-App before visiting Germany, and British people are replying to the German embassy here in London asking if they can use it here in the UK. We are not even demanding the world-beating track and trace system the Government promised; we just want a system that works.
In a spirit of national unity and common purpose, we sought to work with the Government wherever possible. We have helped expedite emergency legislation through the House, and we have supported many of the measures taken to respond to the health emergency and to the economic crisis. Where Government have fallen short, we have suggested alternative approaches, and to be fair to the Government they have been prepared to listen. They listened when they introduced the job retention scheme, which we had called for and the TUC helped design, and later when the Chancellor came back with support for the self-employed that has been a lifeline to so many.
In the same spirit, we called on the Chancellor to take immediate action to tackle youth unemployment, and we pointed to the future jobs fund introduced by the last Labour Government as a model. Today’s kick-start announcement is exactly that, and we welcome it. In fact, the greatest compliment I can pay to the Chancellor from this Dispatch Box is that in announcing the kick-start scheme earlier he sounded like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Maligned by the Conservatives at the time, history has been kinder to them than the Conservative Opposition of the day were; their leadership is rightly recognised by the Chancellor today, and that is to his credit.
But I do want to impress on the Chief Secretary the following point before he returns to the Treasury. The success of Labour’s future jobs fund was in no small part thanks to the hard work of the third sector and local authorities in delivering it, all of which are now in a far worse position than they were when the financial crisis hit. They have already stepped up in response to this crisis. Charities have been on the frontline of responding to covid-19, at the same time as the virus has plunged so many of them into financial crises of their own. They are at the heart of community resilience, public service delivery and tackling some of the biggest challenges of our time; we need them to come through this crisis and out the other side, so that they can help our country to do the same.
Councils were asked to do whatever it takes, whatever the cost, and they did. They have delivered food parcels to those shielding and made contact with those isolated and at risk. Their workers have kept essential services running at personal risk to themselves, and they have delivered Government grants to the businesses that need them with remarkable speed and efficiency. We have also seen endless examples of their creativity and ingenuity throughout their crisis response. The Mayor of London has worked closely with London boroughs to get rough sleepers off the streets and into safe harbour, and they are working together now to end rough sleeping for good. My own local council procured step-down accommodation for covid patients leaving hospital in order to delay the immediate discharge of those patients into care home settings to help control the spread of the virus. The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, provided a loan to a local business to help it scale-up PPE production during the national shortage. While the Government dithered and delayed over supports for arts and culture, the Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, was already delivering it through his music fund and film and TV development fund. Councils such as Staffordshire County Council and Brighton and Hove City council have provided additional support to community groups and third-sector organisations, recognising the important role that they are playing in the crisis response.
Today, those local authorities are in far worse shape after a decade of cuts from Conservative Government and the double whammy of rising costs and lost revenues as a result of this crisis. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government promised to reimburse them, but so far he has failed to deliver and, after a decade of Tory cuts, they cannot afford to pay for the opportunity to sit next to him at the next Conservative fundraiser in the hope of a favourable decision coming out of the Government.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury said that it is cheap. I am not sure that a seat at a Conservative party fundraiser is particularly cheap, and it is certainly a price too high for lobbying the Government, but there we are.
Let me turn now to the comments made by Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation. He said that the £2 billion kick-start scheme is “a very welcome return” to the approach of the future jobs fund, but he notes that creating those opportunities will be a huge delivery challenge. He says that it will need loads of these jobs to be created by local authorities, and he is right. The success or failure of the kick-start programme will depend on the strength of local government to help deliver it, so it is time for the Government to put their money where their mouth is and fund local government properly.
Break in Debate
I think we can recognise from all the contributions today that the pandemic is the biggest crisis we have faced in our lifetime. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol South (Karin Smyth) talked about the need for the health of our country and our economy to be taken together, as well as about the contribution of women to our economy. That was a point also picked up by the right hon. Member for Romsey and Southampton North (Caroline Nokes), the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee.
My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell) also drew our attention to the fact that Government measures are having a real impact on the north-east of England and called for infrastructure investment in our region, to which I am naturally and understandably sympathetic. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Olivia Blake) drew our attention to the incredibly challenging situation facing our universities. We also heard from my hon. Friends the Members for Warwick and Leamington (Matt Western), for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins) and for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana) on the need to secure a green transition. My hon. Friends the Members for Luton South and for Warwick and Leamington talked about the need to invest in electric vehicles, in the charging infrastructure and to see greater support for the automotive sector and manufacturing.
My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Emma Hardy), who is a doughty champion of the caravan industry, drew our attention repeatedly to the need for Ministers to respond to the challenges facing that sector and to do more to support business through this crisis. My hon. Friends the Members for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Gerald Jones) and for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith) drew our attention to the fact that the shared prosperity fund is vital and that we urgently need clarity from Ministers on this issue. My hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney also rightly drew our attention to the positive action being taken by the Labour Government in Wales.
The British public have the expectation, quite rightly, that politicians will be working responsibly to overcome this crisis. That is why we have supported the Government where possible and remain committed to working constructively to find solutions to the challenges that we face. We do acknowledge that some of the steps taken by the Government earlier in the crisis, such as the job retention scheme and the self-employment income support scheme, were the right thing to do. We called for those measures and we were proud to support them. Where we criticise—where we offer constructive criticism—it is because we know that, for Britain to succeed, the Government have to do better. Our priorities are those of the British people: protecting health and protecting the economy.
We know that we are facing a sharp and deep downturn and that the UK faces one of the largest hits to output of all industrialised countries. We also know the impact that this crisis has had on working families and on communities that have paid the price of Tory Government since 2010. I am talking about the poorest families who have seen their earnings plummet and household debt rise and the parts of the country, such as the area that I represent, that have been neglected by Governments since 2010 and are projected to face greater unemployment and competition for jobs in the coming months. There are 17 jobseekers for every single vacancy, and that is before we see additional unemployment. The young and the low paid, who are far more likely to work in sectors that have been shut down, face the toughest job market in a generation, and women, particularly mothers, are more likely to have quit or lost their jobs or been furloughed since the start of the lockdown. We can all recognise the disproportionate impact that this crisis has had on black, Asian and minority ethnic women who have been hit even harder. That is why, for weeks, we have been calling for a back-to-work Budget that supports those at the sharp end of this crisis, so that we can build a fair recovery, one of which we can all be proud.
Already, the Chancellor’s counterparts around the world have laid out broad and ambitious packages to boost their economies and support vital sectors in facing the challenges that are yet to come. As usual, since the crisis, Ministers have been slow off the mark. They have had plenty of time to plan for a sustainable green recovery that benefits communities up and down our country. Labour called for many of the measures that were announced today and, as a constructive Opposition, we welcome them, but no one can ignore the major blind spots in this statement. It is part of a running trend. Throughout the crisis, the Government have consistently been too slow, putting off the tough calls. This has made lockdown longer and the economic harm greater. It is why we must get our response right now. We need Britain to move on from the crisis not be scarred by it for generations.
We have set out tests for what we expected from the Government today: a back-to-work Budget that focused on retaining jobs, sustaining jobs and supporting new jobs. For weeks, we have been calling for an effective scheme that ensures that people are able to find decent work, even in the challenging labour market ahead. That is why we called on Ministers to learn from the example of Labour’s future jobs fund, which supported hundreds of thousands of young people into training and employment opportunities. We are glad that the Government have finally heeded our call for such a programme, but the fund does not address the scale of the youth unemployment challenge. More than 400,000 young people were already out of work pre-crisis, and a further 800,000 are set to enter the labour market. There is one specific point on the detail that I hope the Minister can address: will companies be able to use kick-start funding to support apprenticeships? I hope he will be able to answer that question when he responds. Welcome as it is for younger workers who will benefit, it does not address the concerns of many workers, especially older workers, whose jobs are now at risk and who face a very uncertain economic future.
A plan on job creation should have moved in lockstep with our commitment to tackling the climate emergency, but again, Ministers have fallen short. The recent Committee on Climate Change report laid bare how badly the UK is falling behind, and with this package, we continue to do so. The French Government have promised €15 billion for a green recovery. The German Government—€40 billion. The UK Government—£3 billion so far. Tackling the climate emergency should have been at the heart of the Government’s economic response. Decisive action to drive towards net zero goes hand in hand with job creation, providing upskilling, training and new opportunities, yet the Government approach in this area is sadly lacking.
While we have heard a great deal today about supporting job creation, which is urgent and vital, the Government’s No. 1 goal must also be to prevent people from becoming unemployed in the first place. We have seen a wave of job losses right across a number of sectors, including retail, food service, aerospace and hospitality in the last week alone, with every job lost a tragedy. We know that unemployment does lasting damage not just to individuals, their livelihoods and families, but to whole communities, and the best way to keep unemployment down is to keep people in work.
That is why the Chancellor should have abandoned his one-size-fits-all wind-down of the furlough. We want British business back on its feet, but the Government’s failure to adopt a strategic approach will hamper this. We should have had a more targeted strategy that addresses the fact that some sectors that are not at full capacity should not be treated in the same way as those that are. We need ongoing, targeted support. This is not about picking winners. It is about protecting those who have lost through no fault of their own, and the job retention bonus scheme risks a transfer of money into the hands of companies that would have brought their staff back anyway.
We have been too slow into lockdown, too slow on PPE and too slow on testing, and it is failures on public health that risk a repeat of the local lockdown we have seen in Leicester. Such further occurrences will be a hammer blow to businesses that are just scraping by. We have said we will be a constructive Opposition and part of that is making the Government aware of where this response is falling short. This crisis has highlighted the chronic underfunding of our public services, where our older citizens have been denied the care that they need and where precarious low-paid work is the norm for too many people. But out of this crisis, there is a chance to build a better country.
What assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing sector-specific access to extended bounce-back loans as part of the Government’s covid-19 recovery strategy. 
I am grateful for the Minister’s answer. Undoubtedly, bounce-back loans have been a success of this pandemic. However, I have a concern that normally viable small and medium-sized enterprises will face acute problems due to covid and may need to make redundancies. The payments associated with redundancies may, in turn, cause normally viable companies to become insolvent, thus losing all jobs and putting more pressure on the state. With that in mind, will he consider a fund or time-limited mechanism to ensure that SMEs can provide redundancy payments due to covid, thus allowing them to remain solvent, protecting them from further job losses and providing some short-term stability for them to bounce back in the future?
Whether he plans to (a) reform and (b) simplify inheritance tax. 
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I am glad that the Government will keep this matter under consideration because, as evidenced recently by Quebec, green bonds can be effective in raising capital investment and investment for operational expenditure to further the green transition. Will the Government also consider enabling the Welsh Government to issue such a bond to help the effort for a greener economy?
What fiscal support he has provided to Scotland during the covid-19 outbreak. 
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What fiscal steps he is taking to support innovative and fast-growing firms during the covid-19 outbreak. 
Unemployment in Wolverhampton North East was three times the national average as we came into the pandemic, and many businesses have expressed their gratitude for the wide range of support. As we emerge from the pandemic, can my hon. Friend reassure me that this will be the party that champions innovators, start-ups and SMEs, so that we can get job opportunities and more prosperity in seats such as Wolverhampton North East?
I understand it is the will of the House that motions 3 and 4 be taken together. The debate will last up to 90 minutes. When motion 3 has been decided, I will call the Minister to move motion 4 formally. If a Member objects, the motions will be taken separately.
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following motion:
That the draft Financial Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which were laid before this House on 6 May, be approved.
Like many who have spoken in the Chamber today, on the fourth anniversary of her death, my thoughts are very much with our former colleague Jo Cox and her family.
As we heard from the Minister’s opening statement, these statutory instruments are quite technical in nature. I would like to thank him for his welcome, and to thank him and his officials for providing some briefing on their meaning and effect. Overall, these instruments seek to replicate at national level the regulatory regime for financial services to which we currently subscribe—and which in many cases the UK designed—at EU level. Until the end of the transition period, we will of course continue to follow the EU’s regulatory rulebook. This is about what will happen in January if, as the Government confirmed last week, the end of this year marks the end of the transition period.
As the Minister outlined, the regulations cover areas such as money laundering, supervision, central counterparties, the cross-border distribution of funds and the desire to maintain the pre-Brexit relationship between the UK and Gibraltar on financial services. In most of these cases, they are taking the supervision of the rules governing these areas from EU bodies and transferring them to either the Treasury, the Bank of England or the Financial Conduct Authority.
On the detail, I have a few questions I would like to put to the Minister. On the money laundering provisions, why is the current duty to co-operate with supervisors in other countries being removed and replaced with the weaker power to co-operate if we so choose? In what circumstances would we not want to co-operate to tackle money laundering, which can fund everything from international terrorism to the drugs trade? On cross-border distribution of funds, can the Minister confirm that these statutory instruments enshrine the loss of passporting rights for our financial services that will result from the Government’s decision to withdraw from the single market as well as from the EU itself? On equivalence determinations, can he confirm that, although these SIs create a regime for the UK to make decisions on the regulatory regime in other countries, as yet we have no guarantee that our own regulatory regime will be regarded as equivalent by the rest of the EU?
We can only hope that this exercise in taking back control is a little more convincing than last week’s decision on border checks from the Cabinet Office. After having four years to prepare, the Government dropped their plans for border checks on goods because we simply could not implement them, even though our own goods will be subject to border checks when we export them overseas.
Paragraph 36 of the political declaration, on which the current negotiation is based, states that the UK should have concluded its equivalence assessments by the end of this month. If we are only now legislating to take the powers to do that, can that exercise possibly be completed in just two weeks’ time?
Taken together, these changes and others in similar statutory instruments represent a significant increase in the functions and power of the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority. What accountability arrangements will there be for those bodies in the exercise of their new powers? Alongside the transfer of functions, accountability must surely be enhanced if claims of restoring parliamentary sovereignty are to mean anything in reality.
More broadly, there is an obvious contradiction at the heart of all this. These regulations are intended to ensure continuity for UK financial services at the end of the transition period, yet the Government’s stated intention for withdrawal is to erect new trade barriers between our financial services and the rest of the EU, so even as we replicate at UK level the EU regulations that we played such a big part in designing, we are pursuing a course that will be incapable of replicating the market access that we have at the moment.
That is not my judgment; it is the stated aim of Government policy. It is the equivalent of one of the shops reopening this week and putting lots of new stock in its window but telling a substantial proportion of its previous customers that they are no longer welcome to shop in the store. For all the debate there has been about Brexit, its impact on services has not been debated nearly as much as it should have been.
We are not dealing here with just-in-time supply chains and trucks on ferries; we are dealing with regulations and rules. We are taking the area that makes up 80% of our economy and, in the case of financial services, a sector in which we trade at a substantial surplus with other countries, and inserting new barriers between us and our nearest customers. The fact that the sector is resigned to that and has established alternative bases in Dublin, Luxembourg or wherever does not change the reality of it.
We do not intend to divide the House on these measures, because regulatory continuity is better than not having a regime in place at all, but no amount of duplication can avoid the basic fact that although we can replicate the rules, we cannot replicate the market access to which these rules apply at the moment and for which they were designed in the first place.
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Before we start, may I say that, on the fourth anniversary of the death of Jo Cox, I associate my party with what has been said and convey to all her family and friends our sincerest thoughts at this present time. She certainly was a wonderful and marvellous voice in this House. Everyone can honestly say from the bottom of their heart that they miss her contributions. Even four years later, that soreness and that sense of missing are still there.
May I say that it is good to see the Minister in his place? There would not be a banking debate where he and I were not involved in some way. I am pleased to see the new shadow Minister, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden), in his place, and I wish him all the best in the future as well.
I thank the Minister for bringing this issue forward. Although this measure merely ensures that the protection established under current legislation continues, it gives me the opportunity to highlight the work that must be done for consumers in the financial industry—the Minister will know of that. We are pleased with some of the progress that has been made, but we look for more. He will have listened to me numerous times on the failings of banks, and sometimes on the need for the auditing sector and the financial sector as a whole to do the right thing for the little man. From Lloyds to HBOS, with many in between, it has long been my aim in this House to see the introduction of effective mechanisms to protect those who are not on the level playing field.
The issue of over-the-counter derivates is another area that needs special consideration, and I hope the Minister will respond on it, as we need enhanced protection. An OTC derivative is a financial contract arranged between two counterparties with minimal intermediation or indeed regulation. OTC derivatives do not have standardised terms and they are not listed on asset exchange, so an inherent aspect of them is the lack of formal regulation. Although the regulation offers lip service to that, as with so many other banking aspects it is my belief that more is needed, and many right hon. and hon. Members agree with that view. Hon, Members already know that some derivative products in the past were the basis of a number of problems during the financial crisis in 2008-09, and we now find ourselves in another crisis, perhaps something equal to that time. As the Minister knows, I have recently written to him about the 200 to 300 legacy cases for the Business Banking Resolution Service. I would like him to respond on that or to indicate when I can expect a response on the way forward. If that is possible, I would appreciate it.
This debate is about our position post-Brexit, and therefore Westminster will have control. It is our responsibility, as elected representatives, and the responsibility of the Government and legislators, to ensure that the FCA and other regulatory bodies have the appropriate regulatory powers in the future for consumer protection. I look forward to the Minister’s reply on the BBRS. The legislation is great to continue, but I believe we need more. It is not enough, but it is a giant step in the right direction.
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the effectiveness of the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme. 
Despite that, the uptake of the coronavirus business interruption loan has been disappointing, leading to the bounce-back loans. Could we have much more accurate reporting on this, much more like the health statistics and perhaps also by region, so we can see what is actually happening?
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the number of small companies that pay business rates collectively through landlords that have been able to access cash grants through local authorities during the covid-19 outbreak. 
Will the Minister ask local authorities to report on the extent to which landlords are passing on the grants to tenants, because it is not just in Lancaster and Fleetwood that we are seeing widespread evidence that that is not occurring?
I would like to begin by thanking all the staff who have worked so hard to put arrangements in place so that parliamentary scrutiny can continue. I would also like to extend my thanks for the efforts made by key workers across the country, for which all of us in this House are grateful.
We have had a good debate today in what are difficult and unusual circumstances. My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Rushanara Ali) made a passionate appeal for the Government to avoid the mistakes of the last decade, highlighting the pressures faced by local councils, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier), who underlined the real challenges we face around housing, with far too many families forced to live in overcrowded and cramped conditions.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Warley (John Spellar) was right to emphasise the importance of businesses and trade unions working closely together at this time and the tremendous work of the TUC, particularly in recent weeks. I hope the Minister will take heed of the point my right hon. Friend made about the role for Government in stimulating demand as we emerge from this crisis.
My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) is a tireless campaigner for children and young people, and he used his speech to press for greater opportunities for them, following this difficult time for so many families. My hon. Friends the Members for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood) and for Leeds East (Richard Burgon) called on the Government to look carefully at gaps in existing provision and the urgent need for a social security system that properly supports families through this crisis and beyond. My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams) also picked up that point, reminding us that far too many children—including those in working families—are already growing up in poverty.
We heard a great number of speeches from Members on both sides of the House highlighting the acute pressures faced by businesses. My hon. Friends the Members for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi) and for Islwyn (Chris Evans) emphasised the real difficulties in accessing lending for business, but they were also clear about the additional support that the Labour Government in Wales are providing at this time of crisis.
My hon. Friends the Members for Birmingham, Ladywood (Shabana Mahmood) and for Liverpool, Riverside (Kim Johnson) stressed just how difficult it is for many firms—especially small businesses—to access the cash that they need to stay afloat. In Committee, I hope we will be able to discuss in more detail the concerns that my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood rightly raised about the inadequacies of the proposed digital services tax.
My hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Limehouse (Apsana Begum) drew our attention to the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black and minority ethnic communities, which will only serve to exacerbate the existing social and economic injustice that those communities face. We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Kate Osborne) about pre-existing regional inequality and the fact that the Government must do all they can to limit unemployment in areas such as the north-east, where the current level is already too high. Finally, the speech that we just heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Ian Byrne) reminded us all of the debt that we owe to our incredible key workers.
Those contributions highlighted the scale of the challenge that our country faces today and the responsibility that the Government have to ensure that we as a country can overcome them. That is why the Opposition have sought to take a constructive approach at this time of national crisis, encouraging the best possible response from Government and pressing for the support announced to work effectively.
That brings us to the context of the Bill—whether it does enough to help those at the sharp end of the current crisis, to put our tax system on a fairer and more progressive footing and to shape our economy for the rather different world of the future. The changed circumstances and the new personnel on the Government Front Bench should not fool any of us about where this Budget comes from or which party is responsible for the underlying weaknesses in the shape and nature of the economy going into this crisis. The Conservative party has now been in power for 10 years. The inadequacies of our tax system and of our society, and the structural weaknesses in our economy, are its responsibility.
Labour’s economic priorities for the current crisis are straightforward, as the shadow Chancellor, my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford East (Anneliese Dodds), set out again today. We want to keep people in work, and the schemes that the Government have laid out are welcome but need improvement, especially as circumstances change in the months ahead. We want to get cash to struggling businesses, and we are concerned that, as we have heard today, too many firms are not getting the support that they need. We want to make our social security system sufficient to provide proper support to families, because we know that for too many it simply is not enough—and the current crisis is making things worse, not better.
The Budget focuses on maintaining the status quo and delivering limited reforms, rather than the ambitious reforms that we need. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that the tax measures announced in last month’s Budget look
“piecemeal…it is not clear they are part of any long term thought through strategy.”
The dire forecasts made by the Office for Budget Responsibility about the state of public finances owing to the covid-19 outbreak show how grave the challenge is likely to be, and they have already rendered the predictions included in the Budget out of date.
Our concern is that the Bill, even in a time of national crisis, is not enough. It is not enough to solve the immediate financial and economic problems that the covid-19 outbreak presents. It is not enough to solve the searing inequalities in our country, inflicted by 10 years of Conservative government. We need a more ambitious approach to making our tax system fairer and building a society and economy fit for the future—an approach that recognises that the consequences of covid-19 and the lockdown are being felt most by those who can ill afford it: those on low pay, those with insecure employment and those who face additional costs to access public services.
Too many of the people on whom our country’s response to the virus depends have seen their true worth to our society ignored for far too long. Too many are today among the poorest in our society and risk being the worst-affected by the coming recession. Others, such as those joining the labour market for the first time and lower earners, are likely to feel the impact for years to come.
We accept that much of the Bill was drawn up before the current pandemic, and we know that Ministers do not have a crystal ball with which to make policy, but they must know, as the country knows, that the Bill was an inadequate starting point even when it was drafted and that it fails to respond to the deep-seated problems of our country. Far more needs to be done to clamp down on tax avoidance, individual and corporate, which deprives our public services of the funding that they need, but there is little in the Bill to suggest that the Government have the appetite for pursuing that at the scale that is needed.
It is welcome that the Government maintain corporation tax at 19%, rather than cutting it to 17% as initially planned. Perhaps that suggests that Ministers have accepted the arguments made by many Opposition Members for many years that whittling down the rate, which is already among the lowest in the G20, is not the best approach. It has not given us a productivity miracle. It has not tempted companies to set up shop here on a scale adequate to balance the flow of companies moving away as a result of Brexit. What it has given us is overstretched public finances and underfunded public services. Instead, we should be asking that profitable companies, especially those for which the current situation has provided an unexpected windfall, contribute more to help to provide our public services with the funding that they need.
The digital services tax is a long-overdue step to make the tech giants pay their fair share. We welcome the intent behind it, but like so much of the Bill, it does not go nearly far enough. The tax and spend trade-offs that have been forced on us by the covid-19 pandemic cannot be put off for long, and when Ministers come to these decisions, they should learn from the mistakes of the past. The Labour Government’s immediate response to the 2008 financial crisis showed the good that Government can do, but since 2010, a decade of Conservative cuts has made the economic damage from that crisis fester.
Too many in our country have seen little improvement in living standards for a decade now. The Bill, and the further fiscal measures that the Government are likely to have to bring to the House in the months to come, should be about ensuring that the burden of current costs and the benefits of the recovery to come are fairly shared across our society. This Bill is not that. It is very far from being the basis on which our country can draw a social contract fit for the future. From these Benches, we will continue to call for a better settlement for today and a better plan for tomorrow.
12. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on fiscal support for the development of marine renewables. 
In order to compete with those technologies, these renewables have to get from the research and development stage to commercial deployment. The industry knows that and has come up with a mechanism known as the innovation power purchase agreement. Is there any reason why the Government are not engaging with that? I have to tell the Minister that these developers are not going to hang around in this country forever. If they cannot make that step here, they will go elsewhere and do it.
14. What steps he is taking to increase wages for low-paid workers. 
I thank the Minister for that response and for everything he is doing to protect jobs in Peterborough and across the country. I was proud to stand on our manifesto in December and, in particular, on our commitment to protect the low paid. The Government have taken vital steps in the short term to protect jobs. Will he confirm that this Budget is also providing a £200 tax cut for the typical family in Peterborough?
Many low-paid workers are self-employed. When I raised this matter with the Leader of the House yesterday, he said:
“The Government are inevitably conscious that when we close places by order and that has an effect on people’s livelihoods, there is a societal responsibility.”—[Official Report, 23 March 2020; Vol. 674, c. 27.]
Many of these low-paid self-employed people work in the music industry. I know that we have an urgent question coming up, but I say to the Minister that they will be looking for more reassurance than we have heard so far this morning that the Government are going to introduce a scheme and do it soon.
If the current coronavirus and financial crisis has taught us one thing, it is that we need to look again at zero-hours contracts and the difficulty that they put many of our constituents in. I very much welcome the measures that have been brought forward on support for businesses and employees, and I very much hope that we will hear about support for the self-employed in the response to the urgent question this afternoon, but there is a lot of concern among zero-hours workers. Will the Minister outline what support the Government are going to bring forward for zero-hours workers in Glasgow East?
I encourage the Minister not to make the perfect the enemy of good in the design of the scheme. Many self-employed workers are worrying about their inability to put food on the table this week. They are finding the universal credit system completely overwhelmed, so I encourage Ministers to announce the scheme and make sure that the cash gets through. It has to be soon; otherwise, people are going to be in real hardship.
The Minister talks about looking at every measure that we can, but the Chancellor just appeared to rule out a universal minimum basic income. Is that not quite disappointing? The way to answer these questions—the way to avoid thousands of people being laid off, ending up on universal credit and potentially getting trapped in the benefits system—is to provide a minimum income guarantee for everyone. That would also help to provide a fiscal stimulus in the economy once we start to get through this crisis.
T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. 
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Yesterday in the Chamber, I and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne) raised the question of escalating prices in local shops and concerns about profiteering. We understand that the Competition and Markets Authority may be looking into this issue, but may I ask the Minister to urge it very rapidly to look at where this is taking place? Is it local shops, wholesalers or cash and carry, or suppliers? Is it even to do with the international market in terms of perishable goods? This is a matter of real concern. Once the Government have found out where the problem is, will they bring forward measures to crack down on this profiteering?
T6. The Chancellor has been more creative and accommodating than his equivalents in any other jurisdiction. Setting aside the question of fairness, how practical is it to use historical tax data to try to impute a wage equivalent for the self-employed? 
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One of the problems with this crisis is that we do not know how long it is going to last. I have businesses in my constituency—events companies, conference companies and sporting companies—that have long lead-in times to organise their events, but they cannot cancel them yet and thereby claim insurance because there is no Government guidance. Do the Government have any plans to give guidance, particularly to the insurance companies and events companies, that will perhaps say, “No events for the next six months”?
In the wake of the last economic crisis, when we needed the banks to stand on the side of small businesses, too often they did not, and many of us have seen too many examples of small businesses being bullied into bankruptcy. What can my right hon. Friend the Chancellor say about the posture he wants to see from the banks at this time?
The message from the Prime Minister last night for our constituents to stay at home could not have been clearer, but many of our constituents who are staying at home will have increased energy bills as a result. The hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Jamie Stone) is co-ordinating a cross-party letter to the Government asking for a reduction in VAT on energy bills. Are they willing to look favourably upon that to support our constituents, who will have higher energy bills as a result of staying at home?