House of Commons debates

Tuesday, 30 November 1993

  • Preamble

    The House met at half-past Two o'clock

  • Prayers

    [MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair]

  • Message from the Queen

    • Queen's Speech (Answer to Address)

      The Vice-Chamberlain of the Household reported Her Majesty's Answer to the Address, as follows: I have received with great satisfaction the loyal and dutiful expression of your thanks for the...

  • Private Business

    • BRITISH WATERWAYS BILL [Lords]

      1 speech

      Motion made, and Question proposed,That the Promoters of the British Waterways Bill [Lords] may, notwithstanding anything in the Standing Orders or practice of this House, proceed with the Bill...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Employment

    • Trade Unions

      6 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has held with trade unions relating to the rights of employees to trade union representation.

    • Unemployment

      10 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has to ensure co-operation between regions of the European Union in the common effort to overcome unemployment; and if he will make...

      Working Hours

      16 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment his Department has made of the effects on British industry of a statutory maximum 35-hour week.

      Vat

      6 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of the introduction of a 17.5 per cent. rating of value added tax on books...

      Unemployment

      10 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give figures for the total adult unemployment in Lewisham West on 1 January for each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement.

      Queen's Speech

      6 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received about the Queen's Speech in relation to his responsibilities; and if he will make a statement.

      Unemployment

      16 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what recent discussion he has had with his EC counterparts about unemployment.

      Health and Safety

      12 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what recent discussions he has had with the TUC on health and safety issues.

      Manufacturing Industry

      6 speeches

      To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the impact upon employment in the United Kingdom of companies moving their manufacturing centres to sites in eastern Europe.

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister

  • Points of Order

    8 speeches

    On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I wish to raise an important point of order about a serious matter—the leaking by the Secretary of State for Education of part of the statement that is...

    • Statutory Instruments, &c

      Motion made, and Question put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 101(3) (Standing Committees on Statutory Instruments, &c.).

    • Legal Aid (Scotland)

      That the draft Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

      Town and Country Planning (Scotland)

      That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

      Town and Country Planning

      That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Amendment) Regulations 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

      Court of Session

      That the draft Maximum Number of Judges (Scotland) Order 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

      Insurance Companies (Accounts)

      That the draft Companies Act 1985 (Insurance Companies Accounts) Regulations 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

  • Ways and Means

    • Budget Statement

      2 speeches

      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, copies of the Budget resolutions will be...

    • Introduction

      My first priority has been to sustain the economic recovery now under way and to create the right climate for growth and for jobs. I have been determined to take no risks with inflation. We have...

      Economic Situation and Prospects

      Britain's economic performance this year has been encouraging. It is now clear that the recovery started in the first half of 1992, well before sterling's departure from the exchange rate...

      Monetary Policy

      As now, my decisions on interest rates will be based on a careful assessment of monetary conditions and inflationary trends, focusing particularly upon the growth of narrow and broad money,...

      Funding Policy

      The increasing credibility of that framework has brought our long-term interest rates down to their lowest level for over 25 years. That fact also demonstrates the ease with which this year's...

      Risks to the Recovery

      World Economic Developments

      As I turn to look towards 1994, the prospects are encouraging, but two substantial risks remain. First, there is the continuing weakness of world economic activity, particularly in continental...

      The Public Finances

      The second major risk to the recovery in Britain is the public finances. The overriding need is to place the public finances on a sound footing. That is the immediate task of the Government, and...

      Fiscal Policy

      In his excellent Budget in March, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont)—[Interruption.]—who at this moment is no doubt commenting on my remarks on...

      Vat on Fuel and Power

      Before I set out the Government's new plans for public expenditure over the next three years, I have one important piece of business to conclude from the March Budget. My right hon. Friend's...

      Public Spending

      Let me now turn to the Government's new spending plans for the rest of this Parliament. In June, the Cabinet imposed tight ceilings on public spending over the next three years—a real terms...

      Public Sector Pay

      To achieve this, we have started with a rigorous approach to the Government's administrative costs. Central Government running costs, including paybills, will be frozen at this year's cash level....

      Social Security

      Social security spending is increasing at an underlying rate of more than 3 per cent. a year in real terms, well above the sustainable growth rate of the economy as a whole. If this trend...

      Job Seeker's Allowance

      Let me start with two proposals designed to help people back into work. The present convoluted system for helping the unemployed includes two entirely separate benefits—income support and...

      Family Credit

      Our second proposal should have a more immediate impact. The House will be aware of the rising level of concern about the causes, consequences and costs of the growth of lone parenthood in this...

      Statutory Sick Pay

      I turn next to statutory sick pay. At the moment, employees who go sick and meet the qualifying conditions are entitled to receive sick pay at specified rates. After the first three days of...

      Employers' National Insurance Contributions

      The transfer of these costs from the taxpayer to business will reduce public spending by around £700 million a year over the next three years, but to ensure that business as a whole does not...

      Invalidity Benefit

      My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security also plans a significant reform of the current regime for invalidity benefit. For those who are disabled and incapable of work,...

      State Pension Age

      Finally, I can announce one further decision which will have little immediate effect, but will certainly make a considerable difference to the affordability of the modern welfare state in the...

      Other Programmes

      Let me turn now to a number of other areas where savings have been found this year.

      Local Authorities

      The first area is local authorities. Growth in total standard spending in England, adjusted for changes in responsibilities, will be limited to 2.3 per cent. next year. There will in addition be...

      Housing

      The second area is housing. Here too savings have been made on last year's plans. Nevertheless, the new plans for social housing provide for more than 153,000 new homes over the three years to...

      Transport

      The third area is transport. British Rail's and London Transport's investment programmes will be maintained at levels substantially higher than in the 1980s, but to make room for this continuing...

      Defence

      The final area where savings have been found is defence. In the next two years, spending will be some £250 million and £500 million lower than previously planned. In 1996–97, it...

      Priority Programmes

      The new method of controlling the total of public spending has brought big improvements in the system of Cabinet government. The Cabinet now decides its priorities collectively and brings to the...

      Health

      We are all proud of the contribution that the national health service makes to the quality of life in this country. Even in a very tough year, we have decided to increase, once again, the level...

      Education

      Our second priority is education. Increased educational opportunities and better standards are an essential investment in the future. Over the next two years, we will therefore be adding more...

      Employment and Training

      I turn thirdly to training. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment plans to introduce a new apprenticeship scheme. This will provide a major boost to work-based training and...

      Science

      The fourth priority is science. The plans fully protect the real value of spending on basic science and technology next year.

      Home Office

      Finally, in the vital area of criminal justice, previous plans for Home Office spending will be maintained in full. Next year, spending on the police service will increase by over 4 per cent....

      Capital and Private Finance

      Spending on health, education, training and science contributes significantly to the long-term economic performance of the economy, by improving the nation's stock of so-called human...

      Resource Accounting

      I have one other announcement to make to improve the way in which the taxpayer's money and public sector capital is used and accounted for.

      Public Spending Summary

      The new spending plans reflect the carefully chosen priorities of an enlightened and responsible Government. We have taken strong measures to keep public sector pay and Government administration...

      Taxation

      I now turn to my proposals for taxation. My task is simple. I need to raise revenue, but to do so in a way which does least damage to the economy.

      Loopholes

      At a time when taxes are having to go up, it is particularly important to collect all the tax which is properly due. So let me begin with my proposals to counter tax avoidance.

      Extending the Tax Base

      Next, I propose to broaden the tax base. I have never disguised my personal view that the coverage of value added tax in this country is too narrow. Under the EC's sixth VAT directive, there are...

      Air Passenger Duty

      First, air travel is under-taxed compared to other sectors of the economy. It benefits not only from a zero rate of VAT; in addition, the fuel used in international air travel, and nearly all...

      Insurance Premium Tax

      Second, we have always tended to tax financial services in this country much more lightly than other sectors, including manufacturing. In this Budget, I have decided to tackle one sector of this...

      Income Tax

      I shall return later in my statement to the existing indirect taxes, and particularly to VAT, but before I do, let me set out my proposals for direct taxation.

      Married Couple's Allowance

      Now that husbands and wives are taxed independently—one of the best taxation reforms in recent years—the married couple's allowance is a bit of an anomaly. As announced in March, from...

      Mortgage Interest Relief

      I propose to take a similar approach to mortgage interest relief. As the House is aware, the rate of mortgage interest relief will fall from 25 to 20 per cent. in April. From April 1995, I...

      Business Taxation

      The tax increases that I have announced will enable me to give some modest help to businesses.

      Corporation Tax

      There will be no change to the main rate of corporation tax, which remains the lowest in the European Union, or to the small companies' rate, but I propose to raise the profits limit for smaller...

      Foreign Income Dividend Scheme

      To help reinforce Britain's place as Europe's most attractive location for international business, I shall implement proposals to make surplus advance corporation tax repayable on dividends paid...

      Export Credit

      For exporters, I propose to make an extra £200 million of export credit cover available in 1996–97, and to cut export credit premiums for certain important developing markets,...

      Uniform Business Rates

      The business rates poundage increase next year, based on the 1.8 per cent. September retail prices index, will be the lowest since introduction of the uniform business rate. For properties in...

      Small Businesses

      My particular priority this year has been to help small businesses. In my opinion, the biggest contribution any Chancellor can make to reducing unemployment over the medium term is to ensure that...

      Deregulation

      I can announce today four contributions to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's campaign to turn the tide of excessive regulation, which threatens to engulf our smaller firms.

      Simplified Assessing

      First, the Finance Bill will include the initial tranche of legislation to implement the plans announced in March to reform the current regime for assessing personal tax. The new system will be...

      Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions

      Secondly, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security published last month the report of the working group set up to consider the options for aligning income tax and national...

      Vat Threshold

      Thirdly, on the administration of VAT, firms are currently required to register for VAT when their turnover reaches £37,600 a year. I intend to raise this to £45,000 with effect from...

      Statutory Audit

      Finally, the statutory audit. The Companies Act requires all companies to have their accounts audited, but for the smallest companies the expense can be out of all proportion to the benefit....

      Finance for Industry

      However, I do not just want to lighten the burden of regulation. I believe that positive steps are required to increase the flow of risk capital into small businesses.

      Capital Gains Tax

      For managers and employees to leave steady jobs and take a chance by going into business on their own, the risk must be worth while. At 40 per cent, our top rate of income tax is the lowest in...

      Venture Capital Trust

      I also intend to create a new type of investment, a venture capital trust, which will channel savings specifically into unquoted trading companies. Investors will receive dividends and capital...

      Enterprise Investment Scheme

      In my view, there remains, too, a strong case for encouraging equity investment in unquoted trading companies.

      Late Payment

      Finally, on the small business sector, I turn to the problem of small companies' cash flow. There is one issue which year after year tops the list of Budget representations made to all of us by...

      Indirect Taxation

      The Government's clear policy has always been to shift the burden of taxation, over time, from income to spending. This reflects the Government's underlying political philosophy — that...

      Road Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty

      First, I propose a modest increase in the vehicle excise duty on cars — the tax disc — of £5 a year. The duty on lorries will be unaffected.

      Tobacco

      Next, I come to tobacco. With effect from 6 pm tonight, the total tax on a packet of 20 cigarettes will go up by 11p—a duty increase of 7.3 per cent. The duties on other tobacco products...

      Wine, Beer and Spirits

      2 speeches

      Turning next to the duties on alcohol, let me start with beer. I have listened carefully to the arguments put by the industry about the declining consumption of beer in this country, the effect...

      Conclusion

      My Budget today puts Britain firmly on course for a sustained period of rising prosperity and falling unemployment, based on low inflation and healthy public finances.

      Provisional Collection of Taxes

      1 speech

      Motion made, and Question,

      Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

      Amendment of the Law

      69 speeches

      Motion made, and Question proposed,That it is expedient to amend the law with respect to the National Debt and the public revenue and to make further provision in connection with finance; but...

      Glenlight Shipping Company

      8 speeches

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

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.

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