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Ministerial Visits

Volume 565: debated on Wednesday 3 July 2013

I enjoy all my visits to Bury. I look forward to visiting it again, and I always take special time to look at the statue of Sir Robert Peel.

Whenever the Prime Minister does next find time to sample the delights of Bury, Ramsbottom and Tottington, will he join me in meeting some of the hundreds of local small businesses and charities that will be £2,000 a year better off from next April because of the new employment allowance, which will cut employers’ national insurance contributions, giving them a real incentive to create genuine new jobs?

My hon. Friend is right: you can now walk down any high street in any town in Britain and point out to shopkeepers and business owners that if they employ people, they will see a £2,000 reduction in their national insurance bill, and if they do not employ people, they can take people on and not pay national insurance. That is possible only because of the tough decisions the Government have taken on public spending and welfare, decisions that have never been backed by Labour, but which demonstrate that we are on the side of people who work hard and want to get on.

The Prime Minister’s deputy party leader in Scotland describes the UK Government’s scaremongering about independence as “silly”; one of his key donors in Scotland describes it as “puerile”; and the country’s leading Conservative commentator says that it is “tripe”. Given that the Prime Minister is in charge of Project Fear for the UK Government, will he ditch this silly, puerile tripe?

I have a remarkable feeling of déjà vu, because I was asked precisely this question yesterday. I will give a similar answer: the information that has been produced by the Government on what would happen under Scottish independence is impartial, extremely powerful and very sensible. The fact is that the Scottish nationalists are losing the arguments on jobs, the economy and the influence that Scotland would have in the world. I say bring on the referendum, because they are losing the battle.