I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to speak at this stage of our proceedings. I am extraordinarily concerned about new clause 1, because it would delay the implementation of clause 5, which is a key part of the Bill because it sets the very level at which people in this country start to pay tax. If we are to address the issues that affect those in our country on the lowest incomes, the best way to help them will to be allow them to keep more of their money in their pockets.
That is why a key part of this Government’s economic strategy has been to make sure, year after year, that those on the lowest incomes are able to keep more of what they earn and to help themselves to build their way out of poverty. That means that 34 million people in this country are paying less tax than previously, and many millions of people have been taken out of tax altogether. This was the No. 1 recommendation of the tax reform commission, which I worked on back in 2006, and I am absolutely delighted that it was among the first steps taken first by the coalition Government, then by the 2015 Government and now by the 2017 Government. This Finance Bill means that raising the level before anyone pays tax to £12,500 is being introduced faster than we ever thought possible.