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Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 7:34 pm on 21st March 2000.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 7:34 pm, 21st March 2000

There is no point in trying to fudge the issue again; the cat is out of the bag. The Prime Minister's press secretary has admitted that the amount of tax taken as a percentage of GDP has been increasing and will continue to do so. It was 35.3 per cent. when the previous Government left office, it is currently more than 37.5 per cent. and it will be more than 37 per cent. at the end of the Government's five-year term of office if they stay for the whole term. Yet the Prime Minister said, "We are cutting taxes" and also that the Government had no plans to increase tax. The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble) should throw in the towel, because the tax burden is increasing. Even after the Budget, it will continue to increase.

It is difficult to get to the bottom of any Government figures. The chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry recently said: It has become extremely difficult to analyse the Red Book … The document is now far too political and this can conceal what the numbers are really saying … The book's become unreadable. The thing might as well be published by Millbank Tower.