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Volume 512: debated on Wednesday 23 June 2010

Q14. Bearing in mind the Opposition’s claim that in Europe, Britain is now isolated, will my right hon. Friend indicate how on earth he managed to secure both French and German agreement to the announcement in relation to the bank levy in the Budget yesterday? (3695)

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. In the Budget yesterday, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced unity between the French, the Germans and the British on introducing a bank levy. The one group of people who are isolated, and who say that we have to wait for the rest of the world before we can ask our banks to make a proper contribution, are the Opposition. Once again, they have no proposals to fill the enormous black hole that the Government are getting to grips with.

The Office for National Statistics reported that while the richest 10% spent £1 in every £25 of their income on VAT, the poorest 10% spent £1 in every £7 of their income on VAT. How, then, can the Prime Minister justify his oft-repeated refrain that we are all in this together?

What I would say to the right hon. Lady—it is an important point and the Red Book sets it out—is that the richest 10% will pay in cash terms 15 times as much in VAT as the poorest 10%. The important point to take into account and look at is the Budget as a whole. In the Budget as a whole, we can see that the richest pay the most both in cash terms and as a percentage of their income. What we have done, by massively increasing child tax credits, is to ensure that there is no increase in child poverty. What a contrast that is with the figures since 2004. The Labour party put up child poverty by 100,000. That is the difference.