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Clause 8 — Small companies' rates and fractions for financial year 2009

Part of Surface Water and Highway Drainage Charges (Exemption) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 12th May 2009.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 6:45 pm, 12th May 2009

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's intervention, because it perhaps gave the response that I may have sought to give to his Front-Bench colleague. I hope that the Equality Bill, which we debated yesterday, will address any issues he may have about seniority and discrimination in terms of pecking order. The intention behind amendment 6 was not only to say that the proposal to cut the headline rate had merit and that additional simplicity had virtue; it was also to consider whether, through this method, we could grade matters further and target specific assistance on particularly small companies such as start-up and IT companies, which have been mentioned. There is probably a feeling that this may not necessarily be the best method, but that there is some merit in trying to think along those lines. This has afforded me the opportunity to make that point.

On the lead amendment, while I welcome the Government's intention not to increase the rate, we think there is scope for decreasing the headline rate, based on tax-neutral assumptions and simplification of the system as a whole.

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