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Capital Gains Tax (Rates)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 23rd June 2010.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:36 pm, 23rd June 2010

No, I think I have dealt with that point.

There will be some people who argue that the private sector would see faster growth and job creation if there was a swift consolidation that supported looser monetary policy. However, with inflation down, interest rates at 0.5% and bond yields coming down-they were coming down before the election, as well as after it-there is no evidence of suppressed private sector demand, so that argument does not stack up. I am concerned that we may see a situation where there are not the right conditions or the right confidence to bring forward business investment. I am happy to welcome the proposed reduction in corporation tax rates and other business help, but what governs whether businesses come forward with investment is whether they are confident that the economy is going to be growing so that people will buy their goods and services. That is what I am concerned about.

I am also concerned that the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast shows employment taking a hit of about 100,000 compared with what we had forecast previously. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development foresees unemployment rising and sticking around 3 million for this entire Parliament. The history of Japan in the 1990s-and, indeed, our own history back in the 1930s-provides a lesson in what happens if we get all this wrong. Wherever we sit in this House, we should all be concerned about rising and persistent unemployment. Not only is it an economic waste; it is also a social catastrophe, as we have seen on many occasions.

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