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Finance (No. 3) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Colin Clark Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon 7:30 pm, 12th November 2018

It is an honour to follow Sir Vince Cable, who had government experience at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and therefore will support what is clearly a Finance Bill supporting business and the economy.

I rise to support the Bill and to recognise that this Government are focused on the economy. I declare an interest, as a business investor and business person. Hon. Members have applauded growth forecasts; employment has been revised up and wages are set to rise. I think we can all recognise that these are obviously good things. The OBR can give us all comfort that the estimates are independent and therefore scrutinised. Economic growth is vital to our public services and for household incomes, and it is what delivers living standards for all our citizens.

I wish to focus on income tax. The Chancellor has fulfilled our promise to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 and increase the higher rate threshold to £50,000. Nearly 1 million fewer people will pay the higher rate of income tax. We have a responsibility to ensure that the tax burden is fair and that the economy grows—surely that is what the purpose of government is. Conservative Members want to see the whole cake grow; we do not want to see just bigger and bigger slices taken of a smaller cake. We should not demonise the wealth creators, the job creators and those who drive the economy.

The £50,000 threshold benefits many public sector employees, such as headteachers, consultants, GPs , senior council officers, senior police officers and senior nurses. The threshold lifts 1 million people out, including middle management, engineers and pilots—the list goes on and on. As the right hon. Member for Twickenham said, these are not the fabled rich, who are condemned. How this measure is not progressive is beyond me.