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Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:56 pm on 30th April 2002.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Scottish National Party, Angus 7:56 pm, 30th April 2002

The changes to corporation tax will be beneficial to companies in many ways. When I asked the Chief Secretary about the difference between companies and unincorporated bodies, he gave a great deal of detail about the effect of the changes on companies. They will benefit, but the point is that unincorporated bodies will not. Far from being a Budget for business, it is a Budget for big business, as the Bill reveals.

Last week, in its Budget coverage, The Financial Times gave the example of Safeway in relation to national insurance contributions. It pointed out that because a large number—40 per cent., I think—of Safeway's employees were part time, they did not cross the national insurance threshold. A further 25 per cent. crossed it by so little that it made a marginal difference to the company. It makes a big difference to those enterprises with a small number of well-paid employees. That is often the case with innovative small businesses in Scotland, not least because of the difficulties that they experience when they seek bank finance.