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Clause 1 — Main rate of corporation tax for financial year 2011

Part of Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 12th July 2010.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 6:15 pm, 12th July 2010

I think that the debate has been helpful to Members on both sides of the Committee. An attempt has been made to get out of the trenches, and to engage in a wide-ranging discussion of how we can proceed in a pragmatic way. I believe that this will become one of the key issues that people will expect us to address as the economic crisis continues. If they see public expenditure cut so that their local schools are not refurbished, and if they see a tax on welfare benefits, they will expect us at least to maximise the revenue from the tax that people and organisations should be paying. Justice and fairness in the taxation system will become critically important to more and more people.

Some of the arguments that we have heard today have been very helpful, and at times they have been entertaining. I am fascinated by the concept that reducing taxation reduces evasion and avoidance: that is almost an argument for no taxation at all, although it may not gain much purchase in the House. We all accept the arguments about simplicity, but the problem with simplicity is that it makes loopholes possible, and we then need complexity to tackle the loopholes. It is a circular problem. However, it is a joint venture for us to try to ensure that the legislation that we draft is appropriately simple.

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