Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister if we really are "all in this together". Perhaps, on reflection, we should change the name of this 30 minute weekly session to Prime Ministers Answers so he gets the message.
I asked the Prime Minister:
"The Chancellor said in his first Budget:
'When we say that we are all in this together, we mean it.'—[Hansard, 22 June 2010; Vol. 512, c. 167.]
When the Prime Minister and the Chancellor came up with such a vacuous soundbite, was it before they decided to give a £42,000 a year tax cut to millionaires, or before they attempted and failed to eliminate the deficit on the backs of the poorest?"
And is "answer":
"The fact is that the hon. Gentleman cannot hide from the statistics that show that inequality is down, poverty is down, 3 million of the poorest people have been taken out of income tax altogether, and, most importantly, we have created jobs for tens of thousands of our fellow countrymen and women. Today, we see the unemployment statistics with a record number of people in work. In his constituency—I would have thought he would want to welcome this—the claimant count has fallen by 49% since the election. That is what has happened; that is how we are beating poverty."
Incidentally, inequality is not down, poverty is not down and the record number of people in work has not resulted in any additional income tax take despite the Treasury projected a significant increase. That shows significant underemployment and an explosion in zero hour contracts. The claimant unemployment count in Edinburgh South is also up this year.