As the Financial Secretary knows because we have already had such an exchange—I feel we are reliving our greatest hits—on a number of occasions in the past couple of years, our policy at the general election was our manifesto commitment not to go ahead with the corporation tax cut from 21% to 20%. We would not have gone ahead with that additional cut to 20%, but instead used all the money to pay for a cut to business rates this year and a freeze next year. It was a direct switch spend. We wanted to make a commitment to small and medium-sized businesses in our country to do something practical on business rates, but we needed to find a way to pay for that, and we chose to switch-spend in respect of the additional corporation tax cut. We of course lost the election, and the Government are proposing a further decrease of the corporation tax rate. We will support the corporation tax measures, but we will ask questions about what that means for the future direction of travel.
Following an intervention, the Financial Secretary mentioned the BEPS project. On corporation tax more generally, it is important—given how some companies seek to shift profits and game international taxation rules—to have international agreement. Concern has already been expressed in some quarters that some of the countries with which we need to do business and with which we need to agree international tax rules might start to see us as a tax haven. I disagree with such a characterisation, but there is such a risk in getting agreement within the OECD BEPS process. I would welcome it if Treasury Ministers could, in Committee, provide further details about what is happening and about how our friends in the BEPS process are reacting and responding to the Government’s proposal on the headline rate of corporation tax.
One measure we have already voted against relates to inheritance tax. Clause 9 introduces an additional residence nil-rate band for inheritance tax when a home is passed to the direct descendants of the deceased on or after