Finance (No. 3) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:09 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 8:09 pm, 12th November 2018

As is being said from a sedentary position behind me, I think the total amount of money by which somebody in Scotland will be better off, if they are below a certain level, is about £24 a year. What the SNP is doing is punishing aspiration and stopping people—[Interruption.] As is being shouted from behind me, it is gesture politics. The SNP is punishing the entrepreneurs and the wealth creators that we need to attract to Scotland, especially to the north-east of Scotland. I could go on, but I will not because I have a lot to get through.

We are hearing exactly what we heard two weeks ago from Drew Hendry—doom and gloom. This is the politics of gripe and grievance, and SNP Members cannot even find it within themselves tonight to welcome the huge strides that we have taken in supporting the oil and gas sector since 2014. I share the frustration of Kirsty Blackman about the oil and gas sector, although I would say that that is an issue for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, rather than the Treasury right now. But no reference was made to the welcome given by Oil and Gas UK or indeed by individual companies in that sector for our commitment to the stable regulatory and fiscal regime that, since 2014, has made the North sea one of the most attractive basins in the world in which to invest. I think that is something all representatives from Scotland, especially from the north-east of Scotland, should celebrate and thank this Government for.

As well as slashing income tax for millions of people, the Bill will implement a number of indirect tax cuts, such as the freezing of duty rates on beer, on ciders and most of all on whisky. This is a measure that we Scottish Conservatives have lobbied on relentlessly, and it will be a great boost to our local breweries and distilleries, such as Deeside Brewery in Banchory and Royal Lochnagar at Balmoral, both of which I have the honour of representing in this place.

There are freezes to support our haulage sector—heavy goods vehicles duty will be frozen for 2019-20. I am sure the importance of this freeze to the British haulage industry will be obvious to everyone as we prepare to leave the European Union. I have a dream that one day these vehicles will be able to transport Scotch whisky, which we as a Government are supporting; Aberdeen Angus beef from farms that are championed by the Conservatives, but abandoned by the SNP; and Peterhead haddock fished from this new sea of opportunity, with us out of the common fisheries policy, being delivered by this Government, along the Aberdeen western peripheral route, if the Scottish Government ever manage to resolve the mess they have got into on that road and do so without wasting even more of Scottish taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.