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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 7:00 pm on 12th July 2010.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour, Nottingham East 7:00 pm, 12th July 2010

I am interested in the hon. Lady's arguments. She is saying that it would be wrong for the banks to receive a corporation tax cut-that is an important concession-but that it is all right because they are paying the banking levy. As I reckon it, that puts them right back to the standstill that they were at in the first place. In other words, they would not be paying any more and there would be no reparations, as I see it, for the public at large. They would simply be standing still. It beggars belief that the Government, having talked tough before the election, are now going to give a free ride to the banks and offset some of the costs of the banking levy.

The hon. Lady mentioned earlier that there is, of course, the Government's independent commission on banking. I understand that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is a promoter of it and I would be interested to hear his views on whether we should give a corporation tax cut to the banks. He has gone from saint to axeman in a matter of weeks, but it is the impact on public services that we are worried about most of all.

As I was saying, it is the unfairness of this measure that strikes home most of all. People who are in a comfortable position are lecturing the world about the cuts to our public services that are needed. What really sticks in the craw is the statement, "We are all in it together", which hon. Members will have heard. Well, that is not the case for the banks. They are not in it with the rest of us.

It reminds me a little of the polite and well-spoken cat-burglar who sneaks in to one's home as a thief in the night and tries to purloin all sorts of goods and chattels but, when caught red-handed, explains, "No, I'm not stealing from you. I'm just rearranging the furniture and decluttering the house." It is a grab of the worst possible kind-a grab on the public services on which the poorest in our community rely. The revenue from this measure and from reducing the corporation tax on the banks is needed by our vital public services. I hope that the Treasury will take the amendment seriously. The banks have not earned the right to this windfall. They do not deserve it and I commend the amendment to the Committee.

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