New Clause 9 — Lower rate of tax and mansion tax

Part of Finance Bill (Ways and Means) – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 1st July 2013.

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Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East 7:00 pm, 1st July 2013

I was not aware of the figure to which my hon. Friend Geraint Davies refers, but if that is the case it is a fascinating reflection on the huge differences between different parts of the country. If we do not do something about that soon, we will regret it in the near future.

Labour Members are constantly berated about the fact that we—the previous Government—abolished the 10p tax rate. At the same time, the current Government do not seem that keen on reintroducing it. We are accused of changing our mind, but it now appears that the Government are changing theirs. When the 10p tax rate was abolished, they attempted to make great political capital out of the issue—fair enough; that is what politics is about—and they have done so since by saying that it was a bad thing for us to have done and should not have happened. Now we are talking about reintroducing a 10p tax rate, and suddenly that is a bad thing to do. For people in low-paid employment—of whom there are many—there are advantages in having a more graduated taxation system that enables them to build up disposable income as they go. As we know, disposable income has fallen for many households in this country, which is a serious matter.

Looking specifically at the new clause, I hope it is not unreasonable to suggest that we consider and study such a measure. It perhaps prompts the question of why the Government are so against it, because if they are sure that a study would show that it would not be practicable or successful, there is nothing much to lose. From what the Minister said during an intervention, it sounds as if the Government may have already done some work on the provision, and on that basis, it should not be so difficult. People in the country want to see whether the measure could be a feasible means of ensuring that those who have asset wealth pay their fair share.