In the light of events outside and as the Government now face their biggest financial crisis since 1979, the fact that the first item in the Report stage of the Finance Bill relates to a capital transfer tax concession for stud farmers is likely to be grossly misunderstood outside the House. I accept that there are procedural reasons for this which are not entirely of the Government's making, but people outside are liable to take a dim view of our priorities.
The Minister says that the cost will be negligible. In Treasury parlance, that means less than £1 million. That is peanuts compared with the turnover of the industry, so why bother with the new clause at all? As for the argument about the 150,000 or 200,000 jobs, if the Treasury cannot be accurate to within one third of the number of jobs in the industry, I see no need for the provision.
The Minister said that discussions had gone on for a year. If that is so, one wonders why the provision was not included in the Bill in the first place. He said that there had been many representations. That is news to me. He mentioned only one organisation, the Joint Horse and Pony Taxation Committee—of what organisation, I do not know.