Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 10th March 1999.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 4:51 pm, 10th March 1999

I rise to oppose this Budget—a Budget of smoke and mirrors, a Budget with many a sting in the small print and a Budget which announced a little good news and left out a lot of bad news, which came in the press releases that followed. This is the third Budget of this Chancellor and this Government: third time unlucky for many. It is third time unlucky for motorists, for small business people, for industry and for most of the people who make the wealth and generate the jobs in our country.

The Government came to power promising education, education, education as their three priorities. Three Budgets later, we know their true priority: it is tax, tax, tax. There are stealth taxes and wealth taxes, income taxes and spending taxes, business taxes and jobs taxes. After the Government have put taxes up, they dare to say that they have cut them—which is misleading the House on a great scale. Meanwhile, the hospitals are short of nurses and doctors, and schools find it difficult to recruit and retain good teachers.

This is a Government of tax and waste, not tax and spend. They take more money from us so that Ministers can fly Concorde more often; they raise taxes so that we can employ more politicians throughout the country and have more quangos; and they spend massive sums on a welfare-to-work programme that simply does not work, as my right hon. and hon. Friends will demonstrate in future debates.

This is a Government who hire more spin doctors to tell us why they cannot afford more medical doctors. This Government are the nation's pickpocket, creeping up at the dead of Budget to rifle your wallet or purse. Saving for a pension? Not without a tax from this Chancellor. Making profits in your company? Not without paying a lot more corporation tax and then being asked to thank the Government for cutting the rate. Driving your car? Not without being clobbered by the Chancellor every time you go out of the garage, and often when you do not.

This Budget continues the great Labour tradition of tax and waste. For business, there is extra vehicle excise duty [Interruption.] I see Ministers roaring their heads off. They obviously do not know what measures were in their three Budgets. They do not know how much damage is being done to industry. They have no idea of all the tax increases that the Chancellor has squirrelled away in the paperwork. It is a pity that they do not read the stuff, but we do because we need to represent the case to British business.

Vehicle excise duty, a £25 million increase; capital gains on company sales, a £40 million increase—