Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 1:36 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:36 pm, 1st April 2014

I could not agree more with my hon. Friend, and I shall come to those points later. He is absolutely right to say that measures in the Bill will ensure a degree of fairness.

Let me begin by describing the measures that will aid growth and investment. Hon. Members will be well aware that the economic recovery is taking hold. Jobs are up, the deficit is down, the economy is growing and, as we have seen from this morning’s figures, productivity is improving. This growth has come about because of the nous and the hard work of businesses and individuals in every part of the United Kingdom. We have done our best, over our four years in office, to create the right tax environment to support their work by reducing the level of corporation tax, bringing rates for large and small firms down to 20%, and at the same time offering generous reliefs for R and D-intensive firms and the creative sector. Our reliefs for the film, high-end television and video games sectors are among the most generous in the world, and the critical and commercial success this year of movies such as “Gravity” shows that these reliefs really have taken off.

We know that all the changes we have made across our tax system have been responsible for companies locating their operations here, and for companies expanding their operations here, but we also know that there is still a long way to go. The Bill tackles some of the challenges facing our business community and our economy. We recognise that British businesses are still not investing enough, and that it is only by increasing business investment and productivity that we can embed a long-term recovery that benefits everyone. Let me put that point into perspective. If businesses had increased investment by just 10% in 2012, the level of GDP in this country would be £12 billion higher today. That is why we need to use our tax system to encourage further investment now. The Bill will therefore raise the annual investment allowance to £500,000, with effect from this month.