Stock Relief

Part of Orders of the Day — Schedule 9 – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 15th July 1981.

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Photo of Mr Richard Wainwright Mr Richard Wainwright , Colne Valley 9:45 pm, 15th July 1981

By leave of the House, I should like to make a brief comment on the Financial Secretary's remarks. The House will have observed that he addressed his abuse to me personally. I do not complain about that, but it is not my judgment that I am asking the House to accept. It is the judgment not of certain accountancy bodies, as the right hon. Gentleman described them, but of the whole collection of the accepted, reputable, long-established accountancy bodies in private practice and in public finance in all parts of the United Kingdom.

It was a parody for the right hon. Gentleman to describe those organisations as "certain accountancy bodies", as though I had selected a particular group of accountancy bodies and ignored representations from others. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to mention a single reputable accountancy body admitting people by examination that accepts his view rather than the one that I have tried to put.

The right hon. Gentleman tries to defend the basket of goods. I was endeavouring to give an illustration when I used the concept of a shopping expedition. I was not suggesting that this is literally a housewife's basket of goods. I should like to explain the basket of goods represented by this mistaken all stocks index. It contains stone and slate quarrying goods for sale, mineral oil, refining goods for sale, tractors for sale, footwear goods for sale, the building materials industry and the electricity industry's non-fuel stocks. What kind of a basket is that to be applied to those making clogs, universal joints for motor vehicles, or parts for aircraft? It is a basket concept. None of the right hon. Gentleman's levity enables him to get away from the fact that the Government are applying to all kinds of specialised industries an all-purpose index that is widely inappropriate and will lose them revenue.

It is notable that the right hon. Gentleman did not refer to the fact that the Treasury, through the concept of the all stocks index, is voluntarily, deliberately and wilfully giving away revenue at the same time as it is scraping it up from every poor household in the country. We are driven to vote against the Government to express our view. There are occasions when, in order to get across a point, it is necessary to cause some temporary deprivation.

It is often stated by what I am glad to say is only a small minority in the House that nothing must be done to upset trade with South Africa in case temporary hardship is caused to some of the indigenous South African people. It has never been an argument that the bulk of hon. Members have been willing to accept. In order to establish a principle it is sometimes necessary to cause temporary hardship.

So great is the Government's concern for small businesses that if they were defeated Ministers would quickly return to the House with a reputable way of dealing with inflation in profits in place of the easy, sloppy and slipshod proposal that they are now attempting to pass.