Life Assurance Business: I Minus E Basic

Part of Clause 64 – in the House of Commons at 10:36 pm on 8th July 1992.

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Photo of Mr Christopher Gill Mr Christopher Gill , Ludlow 10:36 pm, 8th July 1992

I shall detain the House for only a few brief moments, and shall resist the temptation to take issue with the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts).

First, on behalf of the House, I should express our gratitude to the members of the Committee for the time and wisdom that they brought to deliberations on the Finance Bill. I am sure that those of us who were not in Committee were well blessed to be in our beds when they were kept from them.

On the Third Reading of Finance Bills in the past year or two it has been my habit to draw hon. Members' attention to some features of our tax regime. The six main taxes of the revenue—income tax, corporation tax, petroleum revenue tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and stamp duty—raised £80·4 billion in 1991–92. Against those six main taxes are 87 reliefs and allowances, totalling £88·63 billion. The reliefs and allowances come to £8 billion more than the six taxes levied. I want to impart to Treasury Ministers that there is enormous scope for a radical Chancellor to simplify our tax regime dramatically, while decimating the rates of tax.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mrs. Chaplin) rightly had some harsh things to say about capital gains tax. She might be interested to know that there are reliefs and allowances against capital gains tax worth £2·66 billion, even though the tax only raises £1·2 billion. The situation is even more interesting for inheritance tax, where the reliefs and allowances amount to more than £5 billion, whereas the tax raises only £1·3 billion.

I am grateful to the House for bearing with me while I ride that hobby horse. I have said it before on the Third Reading of Finance Bills and I think that I am getting my message through. I think that I am correct in saying that there is one less relief and allowance this year than at the equivalent time last year. So my message is obviously getting through to the Treasury Bench.

I welcome this well constructed and well targeted Bill, which I am sure the House will approve.