Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 1:16 pm on 25th March 2015.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:16 pm, 25th March 2015

That sounds as though the hon. Gentleman was in favour of the 50p rate and regrets that it was not implemented earlier. That is the usual argument: why did the previous Government only put it up towards the end of the Parliament? The global banking crisis hit in 2008, when we were already a long way through that Parliament. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman seems to be a banking crisis denier. He seems to think that it had nothing to do with the fiscal situation. He must admit in his heart of hearts that the banking crisis created great pressures on our public finances. It reduced a number of revenues and caused the deficit we have had to tackle. As a consequence, the tax changes that followed the banking crisis were bound to come in 2009, and that was the period in which we chose to introduce the 50p top rate. He should not be surprised that it came in towards the end of that Parliament, because the banking crisis and all the ripples that flowed from it also happened at the end of the Parliament. Let us nail that one for a start.

The cut in the rate of income tax was the wrong thing for the hon. Gentleman and the Conservative party to have prioritised. I think many people in our country regard it as a real obscenity. It is a perverse set of priorities and we would reverse them because the public finances need the extra support. The public finances need those with the broadest shoulders to contribute a fairer share.