Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 10th March 1999.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 5:30 pm, 10th March 1999

I have not seen that quote from Mr. Stobart, but I will read it. He should look at the tax regime in the round. He will find that we offer a far more friendly tax regime in the United Kingdom than he would find in France, for example. It is for Mr. Stobart to make those decisions, but, if he looks at the tax regime in the round, he will see that it is supportive of his industry.

I was examining the comments that have been made about the Budget. There were some interesting comments from one person who does come at it from a party political perspective, the former chief executive of Asda, now the vice-chairman of the Conservative party, the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells. On radio yesterday, he said: We welcome the help for small business. I think that's good. We welcome the reduction in corporation tax and lower corporation tax for smaller businesses. That's good. As I said, we particularly welcome it in Asda. We are very keen on employee share ownership. I think everybody in the country is dead keen on it and that's good. He concluded by saying: Overall, not a bad business budget. That is a vice-chairman of the Conservative party, going on the record publicly and endorsing our approach, in conflict with the views of the right hon. Member for Wokingham, who speaks for the Opposition on these matters.