It was not falsifying. It was just taking things out that ought to remain. There is a record in the trail.
There are many things in the Budget on which hon. Members on both sides of the House can agree. Some measures could go further in future Budgets. I welcome the suggestion that farmers should be able to average their income over a number of years, but the same problem applies to a number of people in small businesses. A lot of people in small businesses work very hard for very long hours for very many years. They often do not make many profits. Sometimes they have good years and sometimes their business becomes worth a bit and they can sell it. The taxation arrangements are not easy for all of them—they are better for those receiving entrepreneurial relief. For other businesses, if people get a lump sum in one year, they should be able to spread it across a number of years, as under the provision for farmers.
I spend much time serving with hon. Members from both sides of the House on the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill Select Committee. A number of farmers, business people and local residents come to see us. My admiration for people in business, whether on the land or in offices or factories, has gone up a great deal. I am very impressed by the quiet way in which people get on with their lives and come to Parliament to petition when their interests are affected.
Some cannot easily come to Parliament. I say this to those on the Treasury Bench: whatever the reasons of money, I do not intend to tolerate for much longer the fact that half the pensioners in this country who retire overseas get inflation increases and the other half do not. The Government say that there is no money, but we are getting out of austerity and into prosperity. The background is chance. We did not have agreements with some of the Commonwealth countries—the old dominions —but we did with other foreign countries, and the EU requires us to treat EU citizens the same.
It is frankly wrong that someone who has worked in this country and retires overseas should be treated differently on different islands in the Caribbean, in Canada, in the United States of America, in South Africa and other African countries and so on around the world. It is one of those things that is just wrong.
The Chancellor made a number of good jokes, some of which had tax prices attached to them. He said he wanted a review of the variation of wills. If that provision is taken away, a lot of ordinary people will find that they have to revise their wills several times over a decade. Most of us do not know when we are going to die. Being able to vary the beneficiaries of a will is important. People do it not just for tax reduction, but because it allows them to take account of changing circumstances. We have all heard examples of people who have made wills that were right 10 years ago, but that are not right 10 years later. If a variation can be agreed, it is a sensible way to do sensible things. It is not just about reducing tax.
Arguing that the lifetime pensions allowance should be reduced to £1 million is one thing. Someone who has a pension entitlement with a capital sum behind it of £1 million is lucky compared with many, but it begins to look a bit tight for those savers who are reasonably successful in their earnings. I remember once prison visiting with a retired newspaper editor. He said to me, “Tell me about MPs’ pensions.” I did, and said, “What about you?” He said: “When I retired as a newspaper editor, I had a pension pot of £10 million with a pension of £1 million a year.” I said: “Some people have all the luck. And you accuse us of having our noses in the trough.”
I say to the Government that there are some areas where money should not be restricted too much. On housing, we clearly have to improve leasehold, which requires civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government to watch what happens. We also need to bring in commonhold properly and make sure that resources are such that managing agents and freeholders do not get away with abusing leaseholders. I am not saying that they all do that, but it happens too often.
Finally, a number of people aged 19 are still doing A-level-type courses in further education and sixth-form colleges. The funding arrangements are becoming too tight for them, so I ask the relevant Departments—the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Treasury—to ask themselves whether that is really their intention. They need to remember that they should not treat young people like racehorses by using their birthday as a rigid time to calculate how much money to spend on them. They all matter to us and I know that Members on both sides of the House care about that.