It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). I agreed with much of what he said about the impact of stamp duty on the housing market and what an irritant it is.
I declare an interest as a chartered surveyor. As such, I have been involved in many property transactions and I take this opportunity to welcome the Bill, which will reduce the cost of such transactions. The costs are far too high and have been for a long time. I have previously attacked the conveyancing system which gives many lawyers the opportunity to rake in large amounts of money. I believe that the system should be simplified so that it is not necessary to use the services of lawyers. Of course, it is not strictly necessary to use lawyers in property transactions now, but most people find it convenient, if expensive, to do so.
It is not necessary to use the services of estate agents when selling property. Many people think that they have to use estate agents when selling property. I assure them that they do not have to do so and that they can save themselves large amounts if they do it themselves.
We have heard from the hon. Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek) about the Bill. I thought that I heard the sound of many red herrings being dragged about, especially the little dissertation on VAT. The hon. Gentleman conveniently forgot that, under the previous Labour Government, there was a higher rate of VAT, at 25 per cent., on so-called "luxury" items, which included television sets. On that basis, that rate being three times as high as the then so-called "basic" rate of VAT, if there were ever another Labour Government, would they apply the same differential, with VAT on television sets being raised to 52.5 per cent?