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We estimate that more than 5 million individuals may have a taxable dividend entitlement arising from their shareholding in privatised companies, but we do not keep records of the amount of income tax derived from dividend payments made in respect of anyone company.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the tax derived would be much less if there were a windfall tax? Would not the 5 million shareholders who would pay for that tax through reduced dividends also have the value of their shares reduced accordingly?
My hon. Friend is entirely right, and his assertion was supported by Professor Littlechild when he gave evidence to a Select Committee. He said that shareholders would be the first in line if there were a windfall tax of whatever amount. Whether it was £3 billion, £5 billion or £10 billion, it would be a dawn raid on the shareholder-owners of this country's privatised companies.