The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Richard Drax Richard Drax Conservative, South Dorset 5:54 pm, 8th July 2020

It is a pleasure to take part in the debate. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Richard Fuller, who spoke with such common sense. In the short time I have, I will concentrate on the self-employed, the financial world and all the businessmen and women who risk everything to create the wealth and prosperity that we need.

I repeat from Dorset business to the Front Benchers and the Treasury: thank you very much indeed for all the furlough scheme and the announcements made today. The thanks I receive is unanimous—despite what we may hear in other quarters, not least the media. People are extremely grateful for the thousands of jobs in South Dorset that are being saved and for the millions of jobs that are being saved around the country.

Today’s announcement is especially good news for the young, who face threats from this covid in getting into work—my own children included, of course, who are facing the same problem. I welcome that announcement, and the announcement for the hospitality sector, which in South Dorset in particular has been hit hard, because we rely so much on tourism and hospitality to make the economy go around. I will also touch briefly on taxation and the private sector, our armed forces if I have time, and Dorset Council and police if I have a little more time.

Never, in my view, has there been a better opportunity radically to overhaul the taxation system in this country. It is outdated, punitive and bureaucratic. I welcome the announcements made today on VAT and stamp duty. That is a start, but let us get rid of them altogether. Let us go much further—capital gains tax, inheritance tax. Look where our poll rating went when, if I recall correctly, George Osborne raised the threshold to £1 million. It is people’s money, and we have no right to take money off people unfairly.

The economy will only work if we allow the entrepreneurs, the businessmen and women, the financial sector, the self-employed and everyone else that my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire mentioned to generate the wealth that we need. From the Opposition Benches, it is the classic old, “Let’s tax them and tax them.” They simply do not understand, and never ever will, that all those risking their homes, their livelihoods and their families generate the wealth that this country needs to generate the wealth, prosperity and jobs that pay for public services.