Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:12 pm, 1st April 2014

We are not opposed to the measure that the hon. Gentleman mentions, but he ought to be straight with his constituents. That is only one aspect of the tax burden that they face. Of course, his constituents have suffered many other tax rises and cuts in benefits since the general election, and as we start to walk ourselves through the Bill we can explore some of his priorities. We just need to consider the first set of clauses, under which he will be voting to give millionaires—the richest in society—and those who are fortunate enough to earn £150,000 and above, which can of course involve significant amounts of money, a tax cut to 45p from the 50p rate that his Government abolished. He willingly went along with that.

As well as the personal allowance change that Government Members often trumpet, we should have a 10p starting rate of tax. Government Members have supported at least 24 tax rises and principally the change to VAT, which has taken hundreds of pounds from the constituents of Mr Reid, perhaps by stealth. Perhaps they have not petitioned his constituency office and perhaps, with that little wry smile on his face, he has been counting the coins that he has been taking by stealth from the wallets and purses of his constituents, but that is a significant amount of money and he should be honest with his constituents about the VAT increase, the so-called granny tax, the child benefit reductions, the tax credit cuts and all the other changes.