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My hon. Friend is right. Only yesterday, he lucidly pointed out that, when we went into the election campaign, the Conservatives were saying, "We won't help the rich with inheritance tax, and we'll get those bankers with the bankers levy", but that the levy of £400 million will be nullified by the corporation tax give-away to the bankers. On top of that, we hear not only that the bankers will not pay a levy because they get corporation tax back, but because of this proposal they will have the £3.6 billion in pension contributions. That is an absolute disgrace.
The Government argue that the measure is both fair and effective. I have already argued that it is clearly not fair and will not labour the point any longer, but is it effective? That the previous scheme was complex has been acknowledged, but the new system is also complex. There is enormous uncertainty within the industry, which is asking how pensions can be accrued in defined benefit schemes, how they will be valued under the proposals, and what will be the impact of the proposal on the provision of such schemes and what will be the impact on basic rate taxpayers. There are also compliance and delivery questions, and all sorts of other questions, and the measure must be delivered within a very tight time frame. We are therefore playing fast and loose with our economy and public finances, and with the confidence of the international community, in order that the Tories can bail out their rich friends. That is quite outrageous.
The Government say that the matter will not be done and dusted immediately, but that the measures give them various regulatory powers to withdraw Labour's well thought out proposals and to leave a void. Specifically, it is said that there will be a discussion document in the summer of 2010, meaning that there will be a big discussion among the stakeholders on how the Government are going to recover the £3.6 billion that they would have made from the top 2%. The Government say, "We'd better not take that £3.6 billion because we'd be taking it from our friends, but we don't know how we're going to recover it, so we'll have a stakeholder discussion in the summer," which will presumably take place in the Maldives or somewhere similar.
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