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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 8:45 pm on 12th July 2010.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Labour, Nottingham East 8:45 pm, 12th July 2010

I am grateful, Mr Benton, that you have seen fit to allow a stand part debate on this important clause, especially at a time when every measure in the Finance Bill and the Budget as enacted needs sufficient scrutiny to ensure that the general public can have confidence in the fact that any revenue forgone is forgone for a good purpose. At a time when our public services are threatened and look set to be cut so significantly, it is very important that, if this country is to give away potential yield through changes such as the corporation tax, this is done for the right reasons.

It is important to note that we want a healthy economy and for our companies, by and large, to be profitable and doing well. I do not, of course, want to revisit in too much detail our debate on the banking sector, but I point out that it is necessary to have an environment in which our companies can be competitive on a global scale, and to ensure that they can succeed. While we want companies to be profitable, we also want them to reinvest a lot of those profits, so that they can improve the capital stock, improve the ingenuity and enterprising innovation that goes on within such companies, and have a longer-term profitability trajectory. It is for those reasons that I am perplexed by the drastic reduction in capital allowances, to just £25,000. Manufacturing companies-the institutions that produce the actual goods we can sell and export abroad-may well be disadvantaged relative to other sectors of the economy.

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