The second of our Opposition Day debates today has just started, with Rachel Reeves speaking. I’ll be in the Chamber for some of it but I’m not planning on speaking. There is already a 6 minute time limit on backbench speeches, which will no doubt be cut further towards the end of the day. As someone who speaks quite a lot in parliament, I tend to be quite far down the pecking order to be called. I was last but one of the Labour speakers in the debate we’ve just had, and the only Labour speaker who was called after me was someone who’d missed part of the debate because he’d been taking part in an SI committee. So I probably wouldn’t get called in this debate which is already “full up”. My time is better spent in the office getting on with emails… but I will pop down for some of it later.
The motion is:
“That this House notes with concern that unemployment has risen to its highest level for 17 years, youth unemployment has now reached a record level of 1.04 million and the number of young people claiming jobseeker’s allowance for over six months has more than doubled since January 2011; believes that cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast has choked off the recovery and pushed up unemployment and that it was a mistake for the Government to abolish the Future Jobs Fund; recognises that rising unemployment and the Government’s failing welfare to work programmes are leading to a higher benefits bill, which is contributing to the £158 billion of additional borrowing announced in the Autumn Statement; further notes reports that multi-million pound bank bonuses are set to be paid out this year, even in banks where the share price has almost halved; and in view of the most recent figures on unemployment, calls on the Government to take urgent action to kickstart the economy to promote jobs and growth and to reconsider its refusal to introduce a tax on bankers’ bonuses this year, in addition to the permanent bank levy, to fund 100,000 jobs for young people.”