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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

I am not saying that, and I am bound to say that I do not remember anybody-and certainly not the Conservative party at the time-criticising the reduction of CGT down to 10%. It was believed that it would help and encourage entrepreneurship- [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman might like to have a long look at that, but I am sure that many arguments can be mounted both ways. As he knows, I made changes in 2007; I remember that the Conservative party's complaint then was not about the reduction of CGT, but about my increasing it to 18%. As I said, with income tax rates at 50%, it is sensible to keep an eye on this.

I believe that people will find it difficult to characterise a number of measures announced yesterday as fair. On tax credits, the Chancellor said that the Government were going to start to taper away tax credits from household incomes of over £40,000, but that is already true now. In the following year the threshold goes down to £30,000. As we always said during the election-when it was denied-people on incomes as low £15,000 will be affected. Look at table A.5 on page 64 of the Red Book: it is there; it is all set out. It shows that cuts in entitlement to tax credits go far further than the right hon. Gentleman set out yesterday.

I think that the Liberals will have some difficulty in characterising these things as "progressive cuts". I understand that the leader of the Liberal Democrats points to the table published in the Red Book, which makes it look as if people at the top end are bearing a fair share of the reductions and tax increases, but it shows that only because the Government have published a table showing measures yet to be introduced, including our national insurance increases. The top decile will be paying more because of measures that I, not the Chancellor, introduced. It is slightly disingenuous of the Prime Minister to give the impression, as he did at the end of Question Time, that what the Conservatives are doing is redistributive and fair. That is not the case.

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