Opening section of the Shadow Chancellor’s response: "I do not know why the Prime Minister even bothered to turn up. He should have called that election, and let us give the Budget. Instead, we had a pre-election Budget without the election. We all know that the report was brought forward, so that it could be the starting gun for the campaign, before the Prime Minister took the pistol and fired it into his foot.

Let us deal straight away with the announcements on aviation, and on non-domiciles and inheritance tax. For 10 years, the Prime Minister has been sucking millions of families into the inheritance tax net. For 10 years, he has been pulling first-time buyers into stamp duty. For 10 years, he could have reformed air passenger duty. For 10 years, he did nothing on non-doms.

Now, a week after we introduced our plans, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor scrabble around in a panic trying to think of something to say. The Prime Minister talks about setting out his vision of the country, but he has to wait for us to tell him what it is. That is not leadership of this country—it is followership, Prime Minister. It is not strong, Prime Minister, it is weak. He has learned nothing from recent events. The public will see today’s measures as a desperate, cynical stunt from a desperate and weak Prime Minister, and the public can tell the difference between a Labour party that sees this all as a cynical, calculating game, and a Conservative party that believes in lower taxes and in aspirations."

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