Tories win chance to debate 'Budget'


Tories win chance to debate 'Budget'
The Conservative party has won the right to a full parliamentary debate of yesterday's Pre-Budget Report.

The speaker agreed to shadow chancellor George Osborne's request under parliament standing rules on Tuesday, with the debate set to take place after prime minister's questions on Wednesday.

"The news the government is set to borrow more than any government in history has shocked the entire country," Mr Osborne said.

"If this had formally been called a Budget there would now be four whole days of debate on it.

"These are the issues the entire country is talking about and I believe we should be debating them in this chamber."

Earlier Alistair Darling was forced to defend his PBR amid claims Britons will face higher taxes for the "rest of their lives".

On Monday the chancellor unveiled the economic measures he said would help the country endure recession and emerge stronger from the global conditions.

But the Conservatives have attacked the government for unprecedented borrowing levels, which will put the UK in £1 trillion worth of debt.

According to the shadow chancellor anyone earning more than £19,000 will be worse off following the PBR, which the opposition has dubbed a Budget in all but name.

The government refutes the Conservative party's claims and is yet to respond to calls to hold a full parliamentary debate on yesterday's report, which saw VAT lowered by 2.5 percentage points to 15 per cent.

A new 45 per cent tax rate for people earning more than £150,000, raised duties on alcohol, tobacco and fuel, as well as a 0.5 percentage point rise on national insurance contributions will help compensate for the £12.5 billion VAT bill.

Mr Osborne said the fact that borrowing would represent 57 per cent of GDP by 2013/14 was a damning indictment of Mr Darling and Gordon Brown's handling of the economy.

"I think there was a big intake of breath by the nation when they realised what the cost of the last ten years was and that we are all saddled with a truly huge debt," he told the Today programme on Tuesday.

But Mr Darling said only those earning in excess of £100,000 would be worse off in the long-run, while people earning more than £40,000 joining them once the raised national insurance contributions kicked in.

He defended his measures as "decisive action" necessary to safeguard the country's economy.

"The key issue is that faced with this huge downturn across the world what do we do?" Mr Darling told Sky News.

"Do we walk away from it or do we do as most other countries do and support the economy?"

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