Jeremy Corbyn has attacked David Cameron over George Osborne's failure to appear to answer an urgent question about the Budget.
Thanking the Prime Minister for an "advance sight of about half of his statement", Mr Corbyn first addressed the EU summit deal and said the UK has a "duty to play a part" in the response to the “largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War”.
"There are more displaced people around the world than there have ever been in recorded history,” he said.
He then went on to address the conspicuous absence of George Osborne, noting: “He [Mr Cameron] has come here today; the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is here today… practically every other cabinet minister is here today… whatever has happened to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
"Where is he today? Because could he not, instead of covering up for his friend, ask him if he could be kind enough to come along to the house and explain why, for the first time in my memory in Parliament, a Government’s Budget has fallen apart within two days of its delivery.
"Could he tell us why he’s still defending a Budget that has inequality at its core, that has a tax on the disabled and the poorest in this country… and gives tax relief to the richest and the biggest corporations in this country?”
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
George Osborne 2016 budget at a glance
1/8 Debt forecasts up, growth forecasts down
The OBR’s new forecasts have downgraded growth in all of the next five years to 2020. The watchdog says the economy will only grow by 2 per cent in 2016, as opposed to the anticipated 2.4 per cent. Borrowing and productivity growth are also down – with forecast borrowing in 2018-198 £16 billion higher
2/8 New tax on sugary drinks
The Chancellor announced a new tax on sugary soft drinks, which is projected to raise £520 million. At least some of the money will be spent on doubling funding for school sport, the Chancellor says. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the levy
3/8 Tax cut for higher earners paying the 40p rate
The Chancellor has raised the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax to £45,000. The higher rate is paid by roughly the richest 15 per cent, currently people earning over £42,386
4/8 Increase in tax-free income tax threshold
The tax-free allowance increase to £11,500 in April 2017 – up from £10,600 now. The Chancellor previously raised the allowance from £6,475 in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative manifesto pledges to put the allowance up to £12,500 by the end of the Parliament
5/8 New devolution for counties and powers for London and Manchester
The West of England, the East of England and Greater Lincolnshire will all get elected mayor-led combined authorities with new powers. The Chancellor says they are backed by £1 billion new funding. Greater Manchester will get new powers of criminal justice while London will keep its business rates – giving whoever is elected Mayor a lot more spending power
6/8 Fuel duty frozen for sixth year running
The Chancellor had planned to end the fuel duty freeze he had put in place for the whole previous parliament. In the event, he has announced a freeze for another year
7/8 All schools to become academies
As reported yesterday the Chancellor unveiled legislation to turn all schools into academies. He said all schools would either be academies or on their way to being academies by 2020, and that funding had been set aside to fund the change
8/8 Lifetime ISA
The Chancellor announced a new savings account to encourage under-40s to save for retirement – for every £4 saved, the Government will top this up by £1 up to the value of £4,000 a year. Tax-free ISAs will also be increased from £15,000 to £20,000
Addressing the absence of George Osborne, Mr Cameron said: “He will be in the House tomorrow winding up the Budget debate.
"When it comes to holes in the Budget we could perhaps hear from the Timelords that sit opposite because they left us the biggest black hole there ever was.”
Mr Corbyn said last week that George Osborne should "follow former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s example" and resign following his announcement of new UK spending plans and the furore over PIP cuts, but Downing Street said the Chancellor has the "full confidence" of the Prime Minister.
Responding to Mr Corbyn on the refugee crisis, David Cameron said he “didn’t think it was right” to say that Turkey was an unsafe country for refugees, and said those that didn’t apply for asylum would be returned to the country.
“Of course it sounds very compassionate to say to refugees to ‘keep coming’, but you’re encouraging people to make a perilous journey when so many have lost their lives… I think it’s more compassionate to make sure you have firm borders and proper processes, and support the refugees in the country they are in.”
MPs will vote on the Budget as a whole on Tuesday.Reuse content