Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:56 pm on 6th July 2010.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Chief Whip, SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 6:56 pm, 6th July 2010

I intend to finish my remarks by talking about the performance of the Chief Secretary, but I will start by commenting on what the shadow Chief Secretary said. He rightly pointed out that if the Government did not get the growth forecasts that they expected, the only option that they would have in meeting their deficit reduction targets would be to cut more. However, Labour's policy to halve the deficit, again in a fixed time scale, suffered from precisely the same problem. If the growth forecasts of 3.25% for four of the next five years had not been met-indeed, if there had been a downturn-there would have been no room not only for a fiscal stimulus but, perhaps, for the use of the automatic stabilisers. The Government's plans and Labour's previous plans have that problem in common.

Let me start by commenting on the things that we agree with in this very thin Finance Bill. I am pleased that the Bill seeks to bring down corporation tax. The phased reduction in the headline rate will provide an incentive for businesses to locate in the UK, although I am not convinced that paying for this through the changes to investment and other capital allowances might not yet prove to be a problem for growing businesses. As Helen Jones, who is not in her place, said, this may help businesses that are up and running, but not those that seek to grow. I am disappointed that she is not here, because if she were, I would have the opportunity to ask whether she now regrets the Labour Government's abolition of the industrial buildings allowance-another key allowance to help industrial investment that went some time ago.

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