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I do not agree that the private sector is crowded out in that way. I do not think that there is quite the evidence to suggest that. However, I am not sure that the hon. Gentleman, had he been in government during the crisis that the credit crunch provoked, would have done anything massively different to underpin and insure some of the banks against their losses at that time, purchasing shares in various banking institutions in order to keep the banking system going. I understand the partisan nature of his point, but all parties would have had to create that safety net for the banks at that time. I do not want to dwell on these matters, because time is limited and it is important to make my speech as brief as I can.
I want to ask the Minister specific questions about the absence of the small profits rate cut from the Bill, a matter on which I tabled an amendment. It is important to know why on earth it is not included. Typically, large corporations with their multi-million pound profits are at the front of the queue as far as this Government are concerned, but the real engine of growth in this economy is small firms. When I asked the Federation of Small Businesses about this, Stephen Alambritis, the head of public affairs, said that he was surprised at the signal sent to small businesses by the way in which the Bill is framed. He told me:
"It is important that small business is recognised in discussions about the Finance Bill. There should be a reduction in the tax rate for small business as there is for larger companies. There seems to be some discrimination from the coalition government, in that they are favouring large companies at the expense of small business".
The Minister might say, "Of course they will get their cut," but can we really trust the Government to deliver that if they are not putting such a measure in the Bill, particularly if they are not putting in the future years of the main rate cut, too?
A number of questions on this clause are exceptionally important. I obviously do not want to talk for too long, so I shall let the Minister respond.
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