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Tories put economy on track while Labour ‘U-turn on their U-turns’ – Lucy Frazer

The Conservative Government is putting the economy on track while the Labour Party “U-turn on their U-turns”, the Culture Secretary has said.

Opening the third day of debate on the Budget, Lucy Frazer told MPs her party is “backing working families and British businesses with tax cuts and tax breaks”.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Wes Streeting claimed he was being blinded by the “bright glow coming from the red-faced members opposite” as they pinch his party’s ideas.

Mr Streeting also argued that millions of low and middle income workers are being “dragged” into paying higher taxes as a result of the Budget.

Cabinet meeting
Lucy Frazer told MPs her party is ‘backing working families and British businesses with tax cuts’ (Lucy North/PA)

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Frazer said: “We are targeting funding where it is needed most, while the Labour Party talk the economy and indeed the rest of the country down, we’re backing working families and British businesses with tax cuts and tax breaks.

“While the Labour Party U-turn on their U-turns, we are putting our economy on track for new jobs, new growth and new investment. This Conservative Government has a plan, and that plan is working.”

Intervening earlier in her speech, Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) called for a long-term plan to protect pensioners because “you cannot just abolish national insurance and replace it with nothing, it can only be replaced with higher tax, which pensioners don’t benefit from”.

Ms Frazer replied: “What we want to do is reduce taxes on working people and it isn’t right that they have double taxation.

“But he will also know the importance of protecting pensioners, which is why throughout our time in Government we have protected pensioners and one of the key ways of doing that is through the triple lock.”

Wes Streeting
Labour’s Wes Streeting claimed he was being blinded by the ‘bright glow coming from the red-faced members opposite’ as they pinch his party’s ideas (Stefan Rousseau/PA Images)

Shadow health secretary Mr Streeting said the Conservatives’ “incompetence” over the past 14 years has “broken Britain’s economy”, adding: “It’s all there in black and white.

“The economy back in recession, the highest tax burden in 70 years, a record tax-raising Parliament, wages lower today than they were in 2010, households worse off than they were at the last election, a fall in living standards over an entire Parliament for the first time in history.

“And from next month a real terms cut per person in NHS funding at the point where the NHS is going through the worst crisis in its history.

“And what did this Budget contribute to that appalling record? Millions of low and middle income workers are being dragged into paying higher tax, and unprecedented levels of low wage, low skilled migration are damaging the economy – the Government could have fixed both problems but did not.”

Later in his contribution, he added: “The bright glow coming from the red-faced members opposite is blinding, but never forget, they criticised our policies, they criticised our costings, they’ve adopted our policies, they’ve adopted our costings, they don’t have any credibility left.

“That they have finally relented is further evidence that Labour is winning the battle of ideas again today. Never again can the Conservatives claim with a straight face that Labour doesn’t have a plan, they wouldn’t have the first idea what to do if they didn’t have our plans to pinch.

“In fact, it seems to me that today the Labour Party has replaced the IEA (Institute of Economic Affairs) as the Conservatives’ most influential and favoured think tank.”