Clause 66 — VAT: refunds to certain charities

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 25th March 2015.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 4:15 pm, 25th March 2015

This has been a long-standing issue. The experience of trying to bring in new zero rates has been very difficult. If an opportunity arose, any future Government would want to pursue that.

Let me make a couple of points. We need to make progress on a number of items of business this afternoon. On living standards, this Government have taken many steps to help with living standards in difficult circumstances, such as the increase in the personal allowance, the freezing of fuel duty and the freezing of council tax. With reference to the impact on small businesses, this Government have a proud record of helping small businesses in the current difficult circumstances, not least by introducing the employment allowance, which is a cut in the jobs tax, and introducing an exemption for under 21s starting in April, which is a cut in the jobs tax. The following year, there will be no jobs tax for apprentices under the age of 25. We have a record of reducing the jobs tax. That is not the position of Labour.

My party has set out how we will reduce the deficit in terms of departmental spending, welfare and tax evasion and tax avoidance. Our plans are clear. The same is not the case with the Opposition. There is a black hole in their finances. As a consequence, the risk of a big increase in tax from the Opposition is clear. Their tax of choice is employers national insurance contributions. That is the one that the British public should be frightened of. The Leader of the Opposition refused to rule it out earlier. I understand that a panicky press release was issued this afternoon, but the British public know very clearly what will happen under a Labour Government—borrowing and taxes will go up. Consequently, I urge the British people not to allow that to happen, and I urge the Committee to reject new clause 1 today.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 66 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 67 ordered to stand part of the Bill.