Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 7:42 pm on 10th March 1992.

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Photo of Sir Nicholas Bonsor Sir Nicholas Bonsor , Upminster 7:42 pm, 10th March 1992

I am grateful for that clarification, but I did not notice that differential in any of the Labour party documents that I read. Perhaps it is a recent change, because I understand that when the changes to direct taxation were first announced, they were set to affect those on £20,500. No doubt the hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong and will tell us about the proposed level later.

The fact remains that the top rate of tax will be 59 per cent. and on top of that investment income will, yet again, suffer another surcharge of a further 9 per cent. Therefore, the top rate of tax on investment income will be 68 per cent. That is what the Labour party would introduce as soon as it came to power. Heaven knows what the top rate would be if it were in power for four years; we could even go back to the level reached in 1977 under the previous Labour Government when the top rate of tax payable reached 98 per cent.

We all know about the budgetary aims of the Labour party. It is determined to kill wealth. It does not like the idea of accumulated wealth and of family businesses being passed on from one generation to another. That is why it intends to increase inheritance tax and to bring back capital transfer tax. The hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) may make a face and I certainly agree with the sentiment that he expresses. I am merely repeating exactly what was said in published Labour party documents.

Are we to believe that the hon. Gentleman agrees with the Conservative Government's policy of cutting inheritance tax on small businesses? If so, will he please give us his support so that we can go ahead on an all-party basis? I am sure that small businesses would be mightily relieved were that to happen. Given the fact that the Labour party has adopted such an idiotic line and we are close to an election, there is, perhaps, the faint possibility that we shall be able to squeeze some sensible accommodation out of it.

Conservative Members believe in enterprise. We believe in people being able to work for their living and to keep as much of the money that they make as is compatible with proper funding of the state's economy. On the Opposition Benches, there is a dogmatic socialism that should have died years ago: Opposition Members wish to stifle industry and enterprise and to take money from everyone who manages to accumulate it, without letting them spend that money on their families or build something for future generations.

That is the difference between the two parties. That is why the country will vote for the Conservatives, and why the present Government will remain in power after the next election.