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Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 7:15 pm, 19th November 2018

My hon. Friend is exactly right. This is why we also have the enterprise investment scheme and the seed enterprise investment scheme, and why we have made this change to entrepreneurs’ relief. An interesting fact is that of those who benefit from the entrepreneurs’ relief, around a third go on to reinvest in further businesses, so those tax savings are being reinvested in further economic activity.

I turn to the comments of Peter Dowd, who made a number of important points—or, should I say, he made a number of points about important matters? That might be slightly more to the point. However, I agree entirely with my hon. Friend Alex Burghart, who is no longer in his place; I have a great affection for the shadow Minister, particularly the Plutarch and Cicero quotes of which he is most fond. In fact, I will share one with him that does not apply to him in any way, of course:

“Any man can make mistakes, but only a fool persists in his error.”

I think that is probably more appropriate to the leader of his party than to the hon. Gentleman himself.

The hon. Gentleman raised the issues of the amount of tax burden shouldered by the wealthiest in the country. I remind him that under this Government the wealthiest 1% pay a full 28% of all income tax; it was about 24% when the Labour party was in power. As my hon. Friend Richard Graham pointed out, the lowest 20% of earners have benefited the most since 2010, from the combination of changes to tax, the national living wage and other factors.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the UN rapporteur and my appearance on Channel 4. I have to point out that the rapporteur produced, I think, a 24-page report based on around two weeks’ fact-finding in this country. The Government’s view is that the conclusions drawn were disproportionate to say the least. The hon. Gentleman suggested that I did not answer the questions put to me on that particular occasion, which I dispute. However, it is indisputable that he failed to answer the question of my hon. Friend Alex Chalk as to exactly what the Opposition would do with the personal allowance, given the exception that they are taking to our tax measures in the Budget.