Tax Reduction

Treasury – in the House of Commons at on 7 May 2024.

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Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup Conservative, Erewash

What steps his Department is taking to reduce taxes.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Chancellor of the Exchequer

The spring Budget delivered personal tax cuts, including cuts to national insurance, for 29 million workers. That means that someone on the average salary has the lowest effective personal tax rate since 1975, and that is the lowest effective tax rate of any G7 country.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup Conservative, Erewash

While responsible tax cuts, such as the £900 cut to national insurance contributions, are welcome, can my right hon. Friend update the House on when we can expect VAT to be abolished on high-factor sunscreen? That would not only help to protect more people from one of the leading causes of preventable cancer, but could save the NHS approximately £55 billion.

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Chancellor of the Exchequer

My hon. Friend and I have talked about this issue on many occasions. She will know that high-factor sunscreen is on NHS prescription for certain conditions and is VAT-free when dispensed by a chemist. With my Chancellor hat on, I should say that we have had £50 billion of requests for VAT relief since Brexit. It is great to have the freedom to make those changes, but we have to be honest about the trade-offs. In particular, we must ensure that if we do apply reliefs, the benefits are fed through to consumers.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

This weekend, I spoke to a constituent who has invested heavily in a restaurant in my constituency over the last 15 years. He was in desperation because his business, like two other businesses that have already closed in the town, is being crushed by VAT, business rates and increases in corporate taxes. He finds that he can no longer sustain a business that has become the love of his life. Does the Chancellor realise that the tax burden he is imposing on small and medium-sized businesses is crushing this economy?

Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Chancellor of the Exchequer

We are doing everything we can to support small businesses. Businesses like the one that the right hon. Gentleman mentions have received, for two years in a row, a 75% discount on their business rates. That is a massive leg up for businesses recovering from the pandemic. We have also made sure that any increases in corporation tax apply only to larger businesses. There is only one major party in British politics that wants to bring down the tax burden for businesses, and it is the Conservative party.