New Clause 9 — Lower rate of tax and mansion tax

Part of Finance Bill (Ways and Means) – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 1st July 2013.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 6:30 pm, 1st July 2013

Yes, I agree. Governments often ask Oppositions how they will pay for tax cuts for those who need them most. We have given a clear example of one possible option. It is important to show that there is a fair way to give a tax cut to the vast majority of lower and middle-income households through the introduction of the new 10p band. The mansion tax is feasible and has cross-party support, as indeed does the 10p starting rate, and the Minister’s arguments are diminishing by the day, to the extent that we have managed to get him to lift the skirt of the data and publish more of them, which is what we want to see.

It is important to consider the arguments for fairness behind the 10p starting rate, which we think would provide a good tax incentive into work, especially for those on lower incomes. It is widely supported, especially by those Conservative Members who were champing at the bit only a matter of months ago when they tried to persuade the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to consider the proposal. Conservative Back Benchers have managed to get the Government on the run on their favoured topics, including an EU referendum and a tax break for married couples. They have the bit between their teeth, so perhaps we can persuade them to consider the 10p tax rate, too.

The principle of fair taxation is at stake in this debate. It should transcend party differences. We should be looking at funding a tax cut, not defending the wealth of the wealthiest. If the Government really mean it when they say that we are all in this together, the time has come for a mansion tax to help those most in need. The Government have a history of giving tax cuts to the wealthiest—they have already reduced the 50p rate, thereby giving millionaires a tax cut—and they have hit pensioners with what came to be known as the granny tax.