Charge of Income Tax for 1974–75

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th July 1974.

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Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln 12:00 am, 16th July 1974

We are facing an extraordinary situation in which Opposition Members are in a position to carry any amendment which they move. They therefore have power, and they do not exercise responsibility.

The position is that under the Finance Bill at this stage it is impossible to increase taxation. All we can do is to lessen the burden of taxation. If hon. Members opposite are serious about talking of a financial crisis, or of a serious economic situation—and as the Chancellor, at the same time, has pointed out the need to balance the Budget or to limit the excess of public expenditure over income—they should consider the consequences of the actions in which they are now indulging.

There may be merits for some of these amendments, but on the last occasion £120 million was removed from taxation. It is unusual at this stage of the Finance Bill for Opposition Members to vote to reduce the Budget by that amount. This is not a minor amount. It is £40 million, and with the other £14 million we have a total of £170 million off the previous sum.

That is not a light matter. I hope that a number of Opposition Members will take this to heart, realise what they are doing, and absent themselves from the Lobby, so that the amendment is not carried.