Budget Resolutions - Income Tax (Charge)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:08 pm on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover 2:08 pm, 1st November 2018

My hon. Friend is right: if we cut the rate we up the take. We must support small businesses most of all because, since about 2000, small enterprises and businesses have created 4 million new business jobs. Big business has created just 800,000 jobs, so small businesses are the enterprisers and job creators that take our country forward and turbocharge our economy.

If we are to have more public spending, it is important to ensure we have public service reform. We must look at how public services are delivered and ask ourselves whether they can be delivered more efficiently. Are there activities that Government should do more of? Are there activities they should do less of? Why do we not have, alongside the Office for Budget Responsibility, an office of spending responsibility, or even a Budget committee so that the House can consider such matters and press individual Departments to embrace reform and fiscal rectitude?

We also need higher investment. It is all very well having a culture in which we get lots of people with low skills to do low-value-added jobs that lead to no productivity. Why are we not encouraging more investment in more equipment that can be operated by fewer, more highly skilled people who are better paid and drive our productivity forward?

I must take issue with the comments of Sir Vince Cable about how it is all indebted and about the corporate sector—that is absolute rubbish. Some £750 billion on corporate balance sheets has not been spent. There is a conundrum as to why that money is not being invested. We must consider the possibility of time-limited, perhaps very generous, investment allowances to get those corporates to invest in our economy, and to drive the investment and productivity gains that we need.

We need more competition in this country. Why do we put up with Openreach and its appalling service? Why has it not been unbuckled from BT with a strong investment target? Why do we have an oligopoly of banks and of big energy providers, and why have we not taken action on that? We need a bit more trust-busting from the Government and a bit more backing for the consumer interest over the corporate interest.

The Conservative party should be the party of small enterprise and investment. It should be the party that champions the consumer interest and is tough on corporatism and tough on the causes of corporatism. We also need to be the green and environmental party, which is why in the spending review we need a step change in investment in electric car charging points because it is not good enough. Only when we get that straight will big corporate car fleet buyers start to buy the cars that would then go into the second-hand market, so that this country can have the electric future on our roads that it should have.