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Surplus Target and Corporation Tax

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:27 pm on 4th July 2016.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Economy), Deputy Leader, Scottish National Party 4:27 pm, 4th July 2016

I welcome what the Chancellor said about possible monetary policy easing from the Bank, about the automatic stabilisers and, in particular, about export promotion—we hope that that will be matched by a U-turn on the cuts to the UK Trade & Investment’s export promotion budget.

In general terms, we welcome the U-turn on the arbitrary fiscal surplus rule, which, we should remember, planned to cut more than £40 billion a year and was required to run a balanced current account budget. While we support tax competition and recognise that corporation tax cuts might be a useful tool in the fight against capital flight in the aftermath of the appalling Brexit decision, it is also true if we look at the 2016 Red Book numbers as a guide, that a substantial cut in corporation tax—say, 5%—could, in the absence of behavioural change, lead to a reduction of revenue yield of about £2.5 billion a year. I ask the Chancellor one question in particular. Given that he has abandoned his fiscal rule, will he today rule out any plans to claw back potential losses in revenue yield from the cut in corporation tax, in the absence of behavioural change, through the mechanism of further attacks on the welfare budget?