Page last updated at 21:01 GMT, Monday, 11 October 2010 22:01 UK

Finance Bill part one

Shadow Treasury chief secretary Angela Eagle has accused the Tories of promulgating a "gross caricature" of the British economic crisis, attributing it entirely to Labour's wasteful spending.

On 11 October 2010, speaking for the first time in her new role on the front bench, Ms Eagle called for a "much more grown-up discussion" about how the UK came to face such "formidable" economic challenges.

A "reasonable conversation" about the past would allow the country to move forward, she argued.

Her comments came during the Commons second reading of the Finance Bill, which covers tax law changes following Chancellor George Osborne's emergency Budget.

Ms Eagle said the bill was necessary due to the "decision that the chancellor took to stage a piece a political theatre, I might even call it a crass melodrama, when he presented his self-styled emergency budget to this House in June", she said.

"I have to say that one of the more underhand approaches that the current government has taken to this narrative has been somehow to say that the economic challenges facing us - which are formidable - are somehow all about the last Labour government wasting public money and spending in a profligate way.

"You know that that's simply not true. I think if we get to a stage where we have an appropriate analysis of how our economy got to be in the situation that it is now, then we would stand a far better chance of having a reasonable conversation and discourse about how we can move forwards, rather than having this gross caricature which we've seen from the benches opposite."

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said the government was "saving money today so we can invest in tomorrow".

He told MPs it was "the right approach for the country" and was recognised by the IMF, OECD, World Bank and even former prime minister Tony Blair.

"If we just simply deny the existence of the deficit, if we put off taking these tough decisions, we will just be faced with a worse problem later on," he said.

Part two of the debate can be found here.


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