Mr Speaker, like me, you have witnessed many autumn statements and other statements by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. You will know that there is the iron law of Chancellor’s statements: the louder the cheers for the statement on the day, the greater the disappointment by the weekend when the analysis has been done. From what we have heard today, we do not need to wait until the weekend for the statement to fall apart.
Over the past five years, the Chancellor has barely set a target that he has not missed or ignored.
Five years ago, the newly elected Chancellor and Prime Minister came to the House and warned us that the dire economic situation that our country faced meant that a five-year programme of austerity measures was needed: job cuts, wage freezes and cuts in public services. But we were promised, specifically by this Chancellor, that, by today, the deficit would be eliminated and debt would be under control and falling dramatically. People put their trust in that commitment.
The Prime Minister also assured us that although it was going to be hard and...
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