Value Added Tax Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:48 am on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 11:48 am, 8th February 2019

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention. It will be the last intervention that I take, because I am a strong supporter of the Bill promoted by my right hon. Friend Theresa Villiers, and I want her to be able to speak to it shortly.

I want to finish with a point about productivity and investment, which has been made by several people. Going back to what I said earlier about IT and so on, the key to productivity is investment, and as a country we under-invest, relatively speaking. For most of the larger companies that want to invest, the ability to offset VAT is fundamental. If I had a wondrous wonga arboretum and I was told that I could cut some money for business tomorrow, I would go for business rates. I would do so because business rates are an on-cost that directly hits investment in small businesses, and I am convinced that they are what is holding back productivity in the SME sector. I will stop there, because I think the next Bill is an excellent one. I hope that if the Bill promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch makes progress, we will find a prudent and responsible way of implementing it.