Pool Betting Duty

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:20 pm on 3rd April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Michael Stern Mr Michael Stern , Bristol North West 4:20 pm, 3rd April 1995

I have no desire to he churlish about the proposal. The Foundation for Sport and the Arts does a great deal of useful work and would have been prevented from doing some of it without the new clause. A ballet dancer in my constituency depends on the foundation for the continuation of her training; and a great deal of useful equipment has been provided for a female weightlifting group there.

I must, however, sound a note of caution—it is, perhaps, inevitable that I should do so when the whole House joins together to welcome a tax cut. I should be grateful if the Minister gave us information about the extent, if any, to which the Government's plans for raising taxation from betting have been changed as a result of this announcement. When the Chancellor made his Budget statement, he will have included, in the balance of tax and expenditure, a certain yield from betting.

Those of us who follow the industry's progress in the newspapers, or who, like me, invest regularly in the national lottery—[HON. MEMBERS: "Invest?"] That is the technical term. Nevertheless, it is clear that the taxation yield of the national lottery has been higher than expected. I should like my hon. Friend to reassure me that the expected yield, next year and in subsequent years, is sufficiently higher from the national lottery and other forms of betting to allow him to give away this £40 million.

Without such an assurance the House might want to debate whether such a tax cut would have been more usefully applied in other directions. I do not intend to sound unwelcoming about the tax cut. I have argued in the past and will argue again that all tax cuts are of benefit to the economy, but I hope that my hon. Friend can demonstrate this afternoon that this tax cut will not involve a diminution of yield to the Exchequer and that it is based on something rather more substantial than undue pressure from the pools companies.