House of Commons debates

Tuesday, 10 March 1981

  • Preamble

    The House met at half-past Two o'clock

  • Prayers

    [MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]

  • Private Business

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science

    • O-Level Mathematics

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of pupils in secondary schools in England took O-level mathematics in 1980; and what percentage achieved a pass.

    • School Standards (Reports)

      9 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now arrange for reports of Her Majesty's inspectors about standards in schools to be published annually.

      School Uniform Grants

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which local authority education departments no longer provide school uniform grants.

      Education Resources

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the volume of resources available for education at primary and secondary level in the light of the recent...

      Departmental Economies

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals have been made by Sir Derek Rayner for economies in his Department; what progress has been made; and if he will make a statement.

      Teachers (School Meals)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his latest estimate of the cost of providing free school meals to those teachers in schools in England and Wales who receive them.

      16 to 19-Year-Olds

      8 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in his consultations on the report on education for 16 to 19-year-olds, he will pay special regard to the need to make provision for...

      School Meals

      8 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children were in receipt of free school meals in England for the last date for which figures are available.

      Research Scientists

      8 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps, in conjunction with the University Grants Committee and the research councils, to ensure that research scientists on...

      Education Standards

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the progress that has been made in improving education standards since he took office.

      Examination Results (Publication)

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will require subjects taken and grades achieved in public examinations to be published by secondary schools.

      School Materials (Parental Subscriptions)

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence he has of schools issuing requests for parental subscriptions for essential school materials as a response to education cuts.

      Selective Education (Bristol)

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking in consultation with the Avon education committee to bring about the end of selective education in the Bristol north...

      Overseas Students

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students from overseas are currently studying at United Kingdom universities and polytechnics on first degree courses; and what was...

      Secondary Schools (Parental Assessment)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that the information required to be published by secondary schools is sufficient to enable parents and parents-to-be to...

      Student Grants and Loans

      13 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on his review of student grants and loans.

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister

  • Way and Means

    • Budget Statement

      1 speech

      Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it may be for the convenience of hon. Members if I remind them that at the end of the Chancellor's speech, as in past years, copies of the Budget...

    • Introduction

      1 speech

      The annual presentation of the Budget is rightly regarded as the principal economic act of Government. But every Chancellor—indeed, every Member of the House—very well understands...

      World Developments

      But Britain is not alone in facing these problems. In the spring and summer of last year, output fell sharply in six out of seven of the major economies. Unemployment rose by about 3 million in...

      The United Kingdom Economy

      There are still many businesses in Britain that lead the world. But the obstacles to recovery are none the less greater here than in other countries. Many parts of our industry have long been...

      Budget Strategy

      It is against this background that I turn to the central objectives of my Budget.

      The Medium-Term Financial Strategy and 1981–82 Monetary Target

      There is now world-wide recognition that inflation is the enemy of growth and employment. And it is just as widely recognised that sustained monetary restraint is necessary if inflation is to be...

      The Medium-Term Financial Strategy

      It is time for us to start thinking ahead to the advantages that can accompany a permanent reduction in inflation, for to live once again in a world that has banished the spectre of accelerating...

      Monetary Growth in 1980–81

      The first reason for rapid monetary growth over the year is the abolition of the so-called corset. That was long overdue. All that the corset achieved was to make the published figures...

      The Medium-Term Strategy and the Target for 1981–82

      It is important to express the medium-term strategy in terms of a wide measure of money, because it has close links with public spending and borrowing. So I am maintaining continuity by keeping...

      Public Sector Borrowing

      I turn next to the public sector borrowing requirement, the PSBR. Some people, I know, are tempted to regard the PSBR as something mystical, of interest only to economists. How I wish that they...

      Method of Borrowing and Monetary Control

      Meanwhile, it is necessary not only to reduce Government borrowing but to finance it in a non-inflationary way. By drawing more efficiently on possible sources of savings it should be possible to...

      National Savings

      Imaginative use of national savings can help to reduce pressure on the capital markets. Thanks to the initiative announced last autumn we have already achieved our national savings target of...

      Marketable Securities

      We also propose an important extension of the structure of Government borrowing by introducing an indexed gilt-edged security. This will be sold to pension funds and to life insurance companies...

      Smoothing the Flow of Revenue

      I am proposing some new measures which will help short-term monetary management by smoothing the uneven flow of tax revenue. The most important area is that of North Sea oil taxation, to which I...

      Monetary Control

      These initiatives will be accompanied by other improvements in monetary control. Following extensive consultations based on last year's Green Paper, I outlined last November some changes that...

      Public Expenditure

      Further progress towards lower inflation and lower interest rates does not depend primarily on improvements in funding techniques or in managing the money markets, important though these are. The...

      The Coming Year

      In the coming year, some of the upward pressures on public sector spending are bound to remain with us. I have in mind, for example, last November's decision to spend more on industrial support...

      Social Security

      I turn now to my specific tax and spending proposals. Even in a lengthy speech they cannot all be covered in detail, and more information about a number of them will be found in a series of press...

      The Disabled

      There is one group to whom we should pay special attention this year, despite the economic constraints that we face. I refer to the disabled, for this is the International Year of Disabled...

  • Raising the Revenue: Businesses

    • Oil Companies

      I come now to the range of measures that are necesary to raise the extra revenue for this year. First, the North Sea. In deciding on particular measures I have had to take into account recent...

    • Banks

      Apart from oil, one other business sector has largely been protected from the effects of the recession, and that is banking. Indeed, bank profits in recent years have increased sharply, both...

      Raising the Revenue: Indirect Taxes

      Even so, for the reasons that I have already explained, it is necessary to look principally to the personal sector for the additional revenue needed. People in employment have in general had more...

      Alcoholic Drinks, Tobacco, etc.

      First, the duties on alcoholic drinks and tobacco. From midnight tonight I propose to increase the duties on drinks by amounts which, incuding VAT, represent about 4p on the price of a typical...

      Road Fuel Duties

      Road fuel must also make a substantial contribution. The duties on petrol and derv will be increased from 6 pm tonight by the equivalent, including VAT, of 20p a gallon. These increases should...

      Vehicle Excise Duty

      I propose to increase the vehicle excise duty on all vehicles by about 15 per cent. The annual duty on cars will thus increase by £10, to £70. As the duty on derv is being increased in...

      Car Tax

      Finally, I propose extending the car tax to motor cycles, scooters and mopeds. This tax is charged at 10 per cent. on the wholesale value and is in addition to VAT. There is no longer any reason...


      In all, these changes to the indirect taxes should raise about £2,400 million in 1981–82 and about the same in a full year.

      Raising the Revenue — Direct Personal Taxation

      I come now to income tax. Once again I must have the main priority in mind—the need to contain public borrowing so as to make it possible to secure lower interests rates and ease the...

      Fringe Benefits

      2 speeches

      At a time when the real burden of income tax has to be increased it is all the more important that it should be fairly shared.

      Helping Businesses

      So far I have been dealing almost entirely with a group of measures that will have the disagreeable but necessary effect of increasing the revenue.

      Energy Prices

      Another area of concern to industry has been energy prices.

  • Construction

    • Development Land Tax

      The construction industry is particularly hard pressed and it is in any case sensible to remove unnecessary obstacles to development. We have identified three helpful changes to development land...

    • Industrial Buildings Allowance

      As I have said, I am concerned that businesses should continue to invest for the future. Our tax system already provides generous incentives for investment in new machinery. But modern machines...

      Capital Taxes

      The measures I have just announced will in total be worth about £300 million next year. And the tax measures alone will be worth over £400 million in 1982–83.

      Capital Transfer Tax and Capital Gains Tax

      In a year in which we can give no income tax relief, I cannot make major changes in capital taxation. I do, however, propose to continue the process of making more sense of the structure of...

      Stamp Duties

      I intend to include one stamp duty provision in the Finance Bill which will help those buying council houses. This will ensure that stamp duty will be payable only on the discounted price that...


      Last year, I introduced a number of measures to help small firms. In addition to the major new initiative to establish enterprise zones, these included a venture capital scheme, improved tax...

      Value Added Tax

      First, VAT. I propose that, as last year, the registration threshold should be increased in line with prices—on this occasion from £13,500 to £15,000. This change will take effect...

      Small Companies Corporation Tax

      Secondly, I propose to increase from £70,000 to £80,000 the limit up to which the lower 40 per cent. rate of corporation tax is payable by small companies. I also intend to respond to...

      Industrial Co-Operatives and Partnerships

      Thirdly, new businesses depend on ready access to fresh capital. Last year I relaxed the conditions governing tax relief for interest on money borrowed to invest in close companies. That was good...

      Purchasb of Own Shares

      Fourthly, as the House knows, the Government will shortly introduce new clauses in Committee on the Companies Bill, to enable companies to purchase their own shares. Corresponding changes are...

      Venture Capital Scheme

      Fifthly, I intend to extend the venture capital scheme introduced last year. This scheme encourages investment in small businesses by allowing capital losses on shares in unquoted trading...

      Positive Use of Redundancy Money

      Sixthly, we have looked at ways of encouraging people who are unemployed, particularly those who have just become redundant, to help themselves, and the economy, by setting up in business....

      Loan Guarantee Scheme

      First, as the House knows, I have been considering the introduction of a loan guarantee scheme. There are some people who, for one reason or another, have difficulty borrowing money to start or...

      Business Start-Up Scheme

      My second new proposal breaks entirely fresh ground.

      Business Opportunities Programme

      These measures to encourage enterprise and risk-taking are essential if we are to replace the jobs that are disappearing elsewhere in the economy. There must be a healthy flow of new enterprises....


      3 speeches

      This Budget has been designed to sustain the fight against inflation, and to help redress the balance of the economy in favour of business and industry. It is only by giving priority to those...

      Provisional Collection of Taxes

      1 speech

      Motion made, and Question,

      Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

      44 speeches


      Local Government, Planning and Land (Northern Ireland)

      31 speeches

      I beg to move, That the draft Local Government, Planning and Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 which was laid before this House on 29 January, be approved. Despite its title, the order is not a...

      Magistrates' Advisory Committees

      5 speeches

      Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Newton.]

What is this?

Debates in the House of Commons are an opportunity for MPs from all parties to scrutinise government legislation and raise important local, national or topical issues.

And sometimes to shout at each other.

March 1981
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