I want to finish my point first. We are talking about an attempt by the Government to switch lane by saying that what is happening is not a decision of the Government, nor the fault of the banks, which brought us into global economic meltdown because of their irresponsible lending and reliance on financial instruments that they did not understand. The Government's treatment of the banks compared with their treatment of some of the poorest people is significant.
The Chancellor made great play of his levy on the banks, which will raise £2 billion a year, but the big five banks alone will gain £1.6 billion from the changes he set out to capital gains tax. No attempt has been made to rein in City bonuses-in fact, rather than coshing the banks over the head, he tickled them with a feather duster. So good was the news for the banks that their shares actually went up.
Compare that with the treatment that the Chancellor has meted out to industry. We hear much about the fall in capital gains tax, although the Government are legislating that for one year only. What we do not hear is that that is being paid for by cuts in investment allowances, which hit manufacturing the hardest. There we have it: those who want to invest for the long term and capital intensive industries that want to create jobs in the future will be hit. This is a Bill for industries that are less capital intensive but that are making vast profits-industries that, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies said, are "typified by the financial sector". What we have here is simple: rewards for those wanting to make a fast buck and a hit for those who are interested in long-term investment. It is the Del Boy Bill-it could have been written by Trotter's Independent Trading. I am only sorry that Rodney has disappeared from the Dispatch Box.
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