Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 7:20 pm on 10th March 1992.

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Photo of Dr Alan Glyn Dr Alan Glyn , Windsor and Maidenhead 7:20 pm, 10th March 1992

This is probably my last performance in the House. My first was over 30 years ago. I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, all the staff of the House and my constituents for their co-operation and help.

One of the most important proposals in the Budget is the one for budgetary reform. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West (Sir A. Grant) said, for years we have had two financial statements which the public did not understand. It is right that they should be presented as one Budget in December.

I commend the Budget, which has been presented against a background of great difficulty and a world recession. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-West that, eventually, we must move from direct to indirect taxation, which allows the individual control over how he spends his money. The Budget will help the lower paid and the small business man. That is desirable, because for years we have been trying to encourage small businesses.

The VAT payments on account have caused great trouble for small businesses which are hard hit by having to pay it and by being kept waiting for a long time for payment by the big companies. We should go further than the Budget suggests so that not only payment for Government contracts but for all contracts should be subject to a time limit of, say, 30 days. Firms similar in size to ICI are guilty of keeping small companies waiting for payment, although ICI is not guilty of that.

I welcome the tax cuts on British cars because they will help our motor manufacturers to build up sales in Europe where they have done well this year. The cuts will help not only car manufacturers but car component makers and the steel industry.

I welcome the separation in the incomes of husband and wife. It was a great scandal that, even though a wife was earning £10,000 and the husband only £200, he was responsible for his wife's tax. That system has gradually been broken down and the proposal in the Budget will end it altogether. The proposals on inheritance tax are also welcome and will help small business men who save to set up a small business only to see it smashed by inheritance tax. Small companies seem to be neglected by the Opposition even though they are the backbone of the country.

I, and I am sure many other hon. Members, have been approached by many pensioners who have suffered through no fault of their own. I hope that the Government will accept the Social Security Select Committee's recommendations on pensions because they could help people who put their money into a pension fund which was transferred to a Maxwell-controlled fund only to find that the money had disappeared and they had nothing to fall back on.

I regret the defence cuts. They are not part of the Budget but they have been mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Sir J. Stokes). Our forces must be such that they can cope with any eventuality. We never know when they may be required to serve with the United Nations. The Budget is not a vote catcher. It shows the right way forward.

I shall be sorry to leave the House after 30 years. I hope that in the near future more will be spent on staff accommodation and on the facilities provided for those who stay and rest here and have to change and wash. The facilities are ghastly and should be improved in the next Parliament.

Many other matters have been mentioned, including GATT negotiations which will have to be settled. The Budget represents a major reform, a change in the whole financial structure. I welcome the proposal to have a co-ordinated Budget in December. I wish all hon. Members well.