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No, not at all. We have to separate the two issues. The levy is about working towards a way of taking something back from the banks to build an insurance-type system, so that if things such as happened during the financial crisis happen again, the Government will have a mechanism to withdraw some capital from the banks. However, if we are to cut corporation tax on all companies, it would be madness to leave out the banks. They need to be allowed to build capital, not just for the sake of getting them lending again by putting them in a comfortable enough position to make that decision, but also because of the impact on their competitiveness.
Whether we like it or not, our financial sector is a huge part of our economy, and it is much bigger as a percentage of GDP than that of many of our international competitors, even after the financial crisis. It accounts for thousands of jobs up and down the country, not just in the City but probably in each and every constituency that Members represent. If we are to restore some health to our financial sector, it makes no sense to make it uncompetitive when compared with other sectors in our economy and with other countries. The banking and financing sector is one of the most mobile of all our economic sectors. If we have differentiated tax rates for one sector of the economy compared with others, that will only make matters worse. I therefore oppose the amendments.
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