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I shall try to be brief, as I was always told that brevity is a virtue. I am sure that many hon. Members will be brief in all their contributions this evening.
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Karl McCartney, who painted such a stirring picture of the city of Lincoln that most hon. Members will be hotfooting it there at the weekend if their constituency duties allow.
I listened with great interest to John McDonnell, especially when he said that in his 13 years as a Member of Parliament taxation had never been simplified. I suggest that that is because of the 13 years of Labour Government during his time in Parliament; that is why the taxation system has got so complicated. To reduce tax avoidance we need to ensure that we have a simple and plain tax system. It might be a difficult concept to accept, but the less tax we have to raise, the less chance there is of having tax avoidance. It is beautifully simple, but beautifully true.
I honestly believe that the measures outlined in the Budget and the Bill will make an impact on encouraging all companies to pay their way, contributing the correct amount in their taxable allowances, thereby reducing avoidance. However, the simple reality is that we have had 13 years of incredibly complicated tax systems, which has acted as a massive disincentive for everyone to pay the tax that is due, because there have been too many opportunities to avoid tax. I believe that the measures taken will make a positive impact in setting that right.
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